England captain Wayne Rooney has disputed Roy Hodgson's claims that he was substituted because of tiredness in the team's opening game of Euro 2016 against Russia on Saturday (11 June). The 30-year-old skipper produced a mature performance in the centre of midfield during the match in Marseilles and many pundits were shocked Hodgson withdrew him when England were leading.
Hodgson, 68, subsequently insisted his decision was taken because Rooney was tiring, rather than because of his performance. "He was tired," Hodgson said of the Manchester United star, according to The Mirror. "Don't forget, he has not played in that position as often as he's played as a centre-forward.
"So there's an element of work with him to be done in that position and he has to concentrate and think very hard about his positional play and I thought he played very well there and we were happy with him.
"And we thought at that moment in time (the substitution) we had good control of the game and we thought substituting a player of his type with another player of his type in Jack Wilshere would give us the same degree of control but with fresh legs and, to be frank, I thought that's what really happened."
But when asked if the substitution was tactical, the United star replied: "I don't know." Rooney also denied he was feeling tired, despite his lack of experience as a central midfielder.
Rooney also insisted he was pleased with England's overall performance and said he was generally satisfied with his display in central midfield, which is where he played for United towards the end of the Premier League season. "The system worked well, we complemented each other's games well," he said.
"Obviously it's my first game there (in midfield) for England but I've played the last few months there for Man United so I'm used to that position and I think it worked well for me and the team.
"I think for such a young and inexperienced squad, the way we controlled the game was excellent. We had a 10 or 15-minute period where we had to settle it down a little bit but we got through that. We settled down, got the goal and we were ok.
"Obviously, the negative is the goal we conceded, and that's disappointing. It feels like a defeat but it's a point. We have to take it, move on and play a similar way (against Wales) on Thursday — and if we do, we will be fine."