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Hodgson eyes Rooney return

England manager Roy Hodgson says he is keen to see Wayne Rooney return to action after injury ruled him out of the 1-1 draw against Ukraine.

Hodgson’s men needed Frank Lampard to convert a late penalty to snatch a point at Wembley on Tuesday, with the Chelsea star’s midfield partner Steven Gerrard sent off for two bookable offences.

Hodgson conceded that his team looked short of experience in attack but is confident he can get the best out of Manchester United forward Rooney, who is recovering from a deep gash to his leg.

“We’ll get the best out of him because he’s desperate to play for England,” Hodgson told reporters.

“He’s an excellent footballer and quality is permanent.

“I’ve spoken to him of course. He’s had a nasty injury and we’re hoping he gets over it as soon as possible.

“The sooner he comes back into our fold the better because we are short of experienced and quality front players in England. We are blessed with quite a few very good midfielders.”

Several young players featured against Oleg Blokhin’s team, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tom Cleverley both starting.

Hodgson acknowledged that the duo had found it tougher than was the case in the previous match against Moldova, but praised the impact of substitutes Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Ryan Bertrand.

“This will be a very, very good experience for those five young players who were thrust into the fray and had to battle to get a result from the game,” Hodgson said.

“Bertrand, Sturridge and Welbeck made a difference.

“It’s nice when a player comes on the scene like Cleverley and Oxlade-Chamberlain and they have excellent games (against Moldova) and everyone writes them up and says ‘fantastic, we’ve got two excellent young players here’.

“I’m afraid the flip side of the coin for them is when they play the next game and it doesn’t go quite so well the praise will be replaced by a little bit of criticism and it will be suggested they need more time.”

Thu 13 Sep, 2012
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