Roy Hodgson has denied suggestions Wayne Rooney was not fit enough to start England’s Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat to Italy.
Manchester United striker Rooney sat out the first two matches of the tournament due to suspension.
He returned to score the only goal in a 1-0 Group D victory over tournament co-hosts Ukraine, booking England’s place in the last eight.
But Rooney saw little of the ball against Italy, who were unable to score in regulation, but dispatched England 4-2 on penalties at the Olympic Stadium, Kiev, on Sunday.
“I think we put a lot of expectation on him,” England manager Hodgson said.
“When he missed the first two games we were all believing that what we need to do now (is to) get to the third game and Wayne Rooney will win us the championship. That maybe was too much to ask of him.
“He certainly tried very hard, but he didn’t have his best game (against Italy). I think he would admit that. That might be down to a number of factors, but I don’t think that fitness itself was a particular factor.
“His running stats in the training sessions and the games were actually very good.”
Hodgson praised the defensive performance of his team, and said he had been give no indication Chelsea veterans John Terry and Ashley Cole were set to call time on their international careers.
“I’d certainly be very disappointed if they (Terry and Cole) weren’t (available),” he said.
“They’ve given me every reason to believe they’re very anxious to continue. They were two of the real success stories of the tournament. The whole of the back four and the goalkeeper – they’ve all done extremely well.
“John Terry, I think has been excellent throughout, as has Ashley, as has Steven (Gerrard).
“So personally I’ve not even thought of asking the question, ‘will you continue?’ because they would have to knock me over with a feather if they came to me and said ‘I’m not.’ Maybe you know something I don’t know – so perhaps I should ask.”
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