Hodgson: I'm not afraid to drop Rooney

The England manager has dismissed Paul Scholes’s claims the 28-year-old Manchester United striker is past his best and that Liverpool’s approach should be adopted in Brazil

Roy Hodgson has insisted he is not afraid to drop Wayne Rooney if it would be benefical to England at the World Cup.

Paul Scholes said on Monday that the Three Lions must not rely on the Manchester United forward in Brazil, before suggesting the 28-year-old is past his best.

Hodgson, however, feels that Rooney still has time to prove himself on the international stage, but maintains he will leave him out of the starting XI if he feels he must.

“I’d like to think that, as a manager for a long time, I have the capacity to make the decisions that are necessary,” he told reporters.

“Secondly, of course I don’t think Wayne’s past his best. I’ve selected him in a 23-man squad that I’m very proud of. I believe in Wayne Rooney. He’s still a young man.

“My third point is, if I’m going to have to comment and defend people or challenge opinions, I’m going to be a very busy man at this World Cup.

“Maybe the next one is Franz Beckenbauer or Pele. Who knows? If I’m going to answer every criticism from people worthy of that opinion, I’ll be busy.”

Scholes also suggested Hodgson should look to Liverpool’s attacking brand of football during the Premier League season as a basis to work on at the World Cup – but the England boss again dismissed his idea.

“I’m not making any comparisons,” said Hodgson. “I’m manager of an England team with 23 to 25 very good players to choose from. The players will never hear me saying we want to do this a la Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester United.

“I don’t think we’ll manage too many really whirlwind starts if the conditions are going to be as hot as we think they’ll be. We have three matches in a short period of time.

“The players can very easily replicate the qualities of their performances in an England squad, so they can do it in a white and red shirt of England.

“In terms of styles of play, the way we’ve tried to set up over a long period of time doesn’t differ greatly from the way Liverpool are trying to approach their games: an attacking style, a passing style, using the qualities of the individual to go out and showcase their skills.

“This is England. The fact is there is no God given right that, just because Liverpool have had a good season, their players should play. The competition will be fierce. It will be up to the Liverpool players who have done well this season to show me and my staff that they deserve to be in the first XI of the England team.”

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