Wayne Rooney has rejected claims that England’s players lost faith in manager Roy Hodgson prior to their humiliating defeat against Iceland.
England were beaten 2-1 in Nice on Monday to exit Euro 2016 in the second round, with the result described as one of the country’s biggest sporting embarrassments.
Hodgson, 68, stepped down immediately after the match, bringing his four-year tenure to an end.
But suggestions that his position had already become untenable as a result of losing the confidence of his squad were dismissed outright in a statement by captain Rooney.
“In response to recent media reports, I’d like to say that [suggestions senior players lost faith in manager Roy Hodgson are] completely untrue,” said Rooney, who put England ahead with an early penalty.
“On behalf of the players, we completely supported the England manager, but we understand his reasons for stepping down.
“We had absolute faith in the build-up and throughout the tournament.”
Hodgson failed to win a knockout game at a major tournament, but expectations had been high heading to France following a perfect qualifying campaign.
An opening-game draw with Russia was the start of a familiar tale for England, whose only win came against Wales in stoppage time.
At a media conference on Tuesday it was announced that the search for Hodgson’s successor had already begun.
The likes of England Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate, former national team boss Glenn Hoddle and AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe are among the bookmakers’ favourites.