Thursday, August 8, 2013

England boss Hodgson to use unfit Rooney sparingly

The Manchester United striker has suffered a series of setbacks during preseason, and the England boss says he'll act with precaution for the Three Lions' clash with Scotland.
Roy Hodgson intends to treat Wayne Rooney with care after calling up the Manchester United striker for England's game against Scotland despite his lack of match fitness.

The 27-year-old Rooney has yet to feature in the Premier League champion's preseason preparations, first picking up a hamstring injury before being ruled out of United's most recent friendly with AIK due to a shoulder problem.

And although Hodgson has selected the wantaway forward, the Three Lions boss expects to use him only sparingly.

“Obviously [Rooney's] not fully match fit, but that's obvious,” Hodgson told reporters. “[But it is] important to have him with us in the squad and assess how many minutes we can have from him.

“I spoke to David [Moyes] and he understands it's important to have him in the squad. It may not be ideal [lack of preseason minutes] but it's very good that he can join us.

“When we meet up with him and speak with him I’ll make a judgement call on that. Last thing I want to do is play him for too long and run the risk of injury.”

Southampton frontman Rickie Lambert, who also celebrated the birth of his daughter on Thursday, earned his first call up to the England national team, and Hodgson praised the 31-year-old's ascent up to the top flight of English football.

“This is a man who has come up the hard way, starting in non-league,” Hodgson said. “I first came across him at Bristol Rovers when I was at Fulham. If a man has worked hard to prove his worth over the years, he fully deserves his call-up.

“There are a couple of others, Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll, who might be ahead of him but are unavailable.”