Hodgson will change team for Rooney

16 June 2012 06:47

Roy Hodgson hailed his strikers for their goalscoring efforts in England's thrilling 3-2 win over Sweden on Friday night - but confirmed Wayne Rooney will return for the qualification decider with co-hosts Ukraine on Tuesday.

Hodgson's bold decision to select Andy Carroll paid off when the Liverpool man put England ahead with a first-half header. Then Danny Welbeck secured a famous win when he flicked home Theo Walcott's cross 12 minutes from time.

But Hodgson said: "I welcome those kind of selection problems, I was really pleased with the performance of the front players. But Wayne Rooney is a special player and, frankly, it will be hard to leave him out. I'm afraid you expect him to get back into the team when the suspension is served."

The statement merely underlined what a massive role Rooney is being afforded in the Hodgson era.

He must have gone through every emotion in the stands on Friday night though, as England established a winning position, tossed away the initiative with some chronic defending, and finally claimed a vital three points thanks to Hodgson's match-changing introduction of Theo Walcott.

"Theo's contribution was enormous," said Hodgson.

"To come on as a sub, score and set up the winner means he'll be very happy."

Two goals at the start of the second half from Olof Mellberg turned the game on its head, as well as earning the former Aston Villa defender a man-of-the-match award he did not want.

"It doesn't mean a lot," he said.

"It feels a little bit strange to win something when you lose a match and go out of a tournament."

Source: PA