Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Rooney still the man - Hodgson

13 February 2015, 11:13

London - Shunted back in midfield for Manchester United, Wayne Rooney was reassured by England coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday that his status as the national team's leading striker was secure.

At the same time, Hodgson is also embracing younger talent, with Tottenham striker Harry Kane, the breakthrough sensation of the season, set to earn his first England call-up for next month's games.

The 21-year-old Kane has 23 goals this season, including eight since the start of 2015. In that time, not a single shot from Rooney has hit the target after he was squeezed out of the United forward line by manager Louis van Gaal to make way for Angel Di Maria, Robin van Persie, and Radamel Falcao.

Rooney's pursuit of Bobby Charlton's 249-goal United scoring record has stalled at 224. The 29-year-old Rooney is likely to reach Charlton's England mark of 49 sooner, with just three more goals required.

And next month, when Rooney captains England against Lithuania in European Championship qualifying and a friendly in Italy, he will be back in his favored position: Up front.

"At the moment I don't necessarily think (midfield) will be his best position for us, and I don't have any immediate plans to play him there," Hodgson said.

The energetic and committed Rooney was someone who can "play anywhere," Hodgson stressed.

But when asked which was Rooney's best position, Hodgson responded: "He's a goal-scorer isn't he? So one always likes to see one's goal-scorers in positions where they can get into the box, and in and around the box.

"If you've got several other goal-scorers and you can afford to use one of your goal-scorers a bit further back, that's fine. But he's our top goal-scorer in the qualifiers, he's just a couple of goals away now from being England's leading goal-scorer."

Hodgson is not reliant on Rooney when England has a talented pool of forwards, including 24-year-old Danny Welbeck of Arsenal, and Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool, who is a year older.

Hodgson has also been impressed by 22-year-old Danny Ings, who has started 2015 with five goals for Burnley.

But Kane has grabbed international attention, forcing his way into Tottenham's lineup and displacing the more experienced Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Kane, who has played for England Under-21s, can expect a promotion to the senior side next month.

"Is he worth a place in the squad now? Of course he is," Hodgson said. "Is he worthy of a place like Wayne Rooney, Welbeck and Sturridge, whoever? Well, that's something he'll have to prove. But unless I give him a chance in the squad he'll never get a chance to prove that anyway. ... I'm prepared to give someone a chance when he's really showing with his current form that he's worthy of a place with us."

Hodgson has been keeping close tabs on Kane's performances.

"He can be a target player and receive balls that are played up to him," he pointed out. "He's not one who just stays on the shoulder and makes runs. He's quite prepared to take part in the build-up play, run the channels, receive the longer balls, fight with the center halves, but is also prepared to make those runs into the box.

"He's good at attacking crosses. He's good at making short runs to get played in. Really, he combines everything that you're looking for in a center forward."

The key is consistency to ensure Kane is as prolific as Rooney has been over the years.

"If you can be a star at a top team like Tottenham at the age of 21 then you're doing pretty well," Hodgson said.

"His problem now is to keep that going for the next 13 years."

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...