England captain Wayne Rooney has rubbished suggestions he was unhappy at being rested for their 0-0 draw against Slovakia at Euro 2016 on Monday (20 June). The 30-year-old skipper was among a number of first-choice players who started their final Group B game on the bench.
Rooney made a late appearance as a substitute but could not lead his side to victory. The draw meant England finished second in their group behind Wales and will now face Iceland in Nice in the round of 16 on Monday (June 27).
But speaking during a pre-match press conference, Rooney denied suggestions that he and other members of the squad were unhappy with manager Roy Hodgson's decision. "I respect Roy's decision. As a player you want to play but going into the last-16 game against Iceland I will be a lot fresher," the Manchester United captain said, according to the BBC.
Rooney – who was among six changes made by the manager – said Hodgson's decision was motivated by a desire to keep players fresh for the rest of the tournament. He insisted, too, that he welcomed the decision, which led to considerable criticism after the Slovakia game.
"I think it's a decision that Roy had to make in terms of keeping players fresh and believing in the squad he has got. I agree with it," the United star said. "The players that came in were good enough to win the game but you have to give credit to the opposition because they defended very well."
Equalling Beckham's record
Meanwhile, Rooney admitted he is looking forward to winning his 115th cap on Monday (June 27) , thereby equalling David Beckham's record for an England outfield player. "I've said many times that it is a huge honour to captain my country and something I try and do to the best of my ability and with a lot of pride," said Rooney, who joined United in 2004 after starring at the Euros that summer.
"It's not my job to tell the players what to do, they know what is expected of them and they've been great. We're a happy camp at the moment."