Hodgson tells Rooney he needs to be playing to maintain position
By Tom Williams ,AFPLONDON -- England manager Roy Hodgson has warned unsettled Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney that he risks losing his place in the national side if he is not playing regular first-team soccer.
August 10, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Rooney is reportedly concerned about his position at United after falling behind Robin van Persie in the pecking order and the club have rejected two bids for him from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
While Hodgson was reluctant to speculate about the likely outcome of Rooney's situation, he said it would be difficult to continue selecting the 27-year-old if he was not playing regularly at club level.
“It's always better for a national coach when their players are playing on a regular basis, especially if they're playing well,” he said.
“It's always a concern when players you count on for your national team are not getting a regular game in their club sides.”
Rooney was on Thursday named in Hodgson's squad for the friendly game against Scotland at Wembley on Wednesday, despite having missed all of United's pre-season fixtures with hamstring and shoulder injuries.
Hodgson has spoken to both the player and his United manager David Moyes, and says Rooney is “very keen” to play against Scotland despite his lack of match fitness.
The England manager also warned against expecting too much from Rooney at a time when his future remains unclear.
“You can't divorce a person and the way a person feels from the way he plays. You sometimes forget that,” Hodgson said.
“But I would also say that Wayne Rooney's discipline and the performances he's given in the year and a bit I've been working with him have given me no concern.
“If he does play some part in the game, I would expect him to put any personal problems he may have or any professional concerns behind him and give everything for England.”
At a time when transfer speculation is rife, Hodgson will remind his players to focus their minds on their duty to the national team, although he accepts he cannot stop players talking to players from other clubs who have shown an interest in signing them.
“(Chelsea left-back) Ashley Cole and Wayne are quite close. David Moyes must know that as well. If they weren't speaking in a hotel, they'd be speaking on the telephone,” Hodgson said.
“But I do accept a duty of care. I will make it clear to everybody, both the Chelsea players and the Man United players, and anyone else for that matter, that this is England.
“As far as we're concerned, you can speak as much as you like to each other, but during these two or three days, this is England, this is Scotland, and even more importantly, what's beyond Scotland (the resumption of World Cup qualifying in September).”