Football

'Wayne could have played better'

PHOTO: AFP

Roy Hodgson has admitted that Wayne Rooney was not at his best in England's slender friendly victory over Norway at Wembley yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Rooney, who was captaining the Three Lions for the first time, helped his side see off their opponents 1-0, thanks to his penalty 22 minutes from time.

"It was a big night for Wayne, there was a lot of responsibility weighing on his shoulders, not least with the penalty which he had to take and knew he had to score to secure the win," said Hodgson (above).

"Wayne will tell you he can play better than that and have better games. But you're not always going to give the best performance and you don't become a bad player if you don't put in the performance you wanted."

Rooney admitted that he and England will have to improve on their lacklustre performance if they are to avoid a dispiriting start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in Switzerland next Tuesday morning.

"I thought I could have done better - we all could have done better," Rooney told ITV Sport.

"It's the first game after the World Cup and it was important that we got the win tonight, especially going into the game on Monday.

"We got the win in the end and there are a lot of young players in this team. They are still learning."

Rooney's penalty was virtually the Manchester United striker's only memorable contribution to a desultory England display.

Given the chance to chase away the World Cup blues, Hodgson's side instead registered only two shots on target against an average Norway team, with Rooney often guilty of trying too hard to make something out of nothing.

Rooney conceded that England will need to be better in all departments to avoid a defeat against their only serious Group E rivals in Basel.

"Yeah, we have to (step it up). We know Switzerland are a good team," Rooney said.

"We have four days to prepare. We will work hard to prepare and we'll be ready. Hopefully, we can come back with a victory." - Wire Services.