• Sweden 2-3 England, Euro 2012 - Group D

Walcott savours England's attacking intent

ESPN staff
June 15, 2012
Theo Walcott played a key part in England's win over Sweden © PA Photos

Theo Walcott hailed England's attacking intent after coming off the bench to inspire a comeback win over Sweden at Euro 2012.

Walcott replaced James Milner in the 64th minute and levelled the score within a minute before setting up the winner for Danny Welbeck 12 minutes from time as England eliminated the Swedes with a 3-2 win.

Walcott told BBC1: "We felt from the first game we wanted to pick it up a bit more offensively and to score three goals is the main thing. It's always nice to come off the bench and show what you can do.

"I've obviously been disappointed that I haven't played, but I've been training hard and it's not about the starting line-up, it's a whole squad thing. I was sharp warming up and you need to be sharp on the pitch because at this level it's really, really tough. To make my first appearance in such a high-profile arena means so much because it's been a long time waiting.''

Match-winner Welbeck added: "I'm happy with the finish and to get the three points, but it's quite disappointing to let two goals in at the start of the second half. I think we came back well and stuck together and our team spirit showed. When we went behind we still had the belief there and the team spirit showed through.

"We'll get back to Poland, get our recovery done, and obviously turn our attention to the Ukraine. We'll go on from there and try to get three more points.''

Manager Roy Hodgson admitted his disappointment at the two goals England conceded from set-pieces, but accepted such things can happen against sides of Sweden's quality. He was impressed with the way his players came back, though, and was keen to savour the victory.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live he said: "It was a cracking game of football. We were reasonably comfortable at half-time and had a good control of the game before they rocked us on our heels. We knew how dangerous they were from set-pieces and they proved true to that. But it was very good the way the team responded to that. It's difficult at this level, we're playing against good teams. Our attacking play showed good intentions and we looked dangerous.

"We limited them to not too many opportunities in free play. We got a good victory against a team with good experience and a team that can boast many caps.''

Hodgson also took the time to thank captain Steven Gerrard for the role he has played so far in his four-game reign. Appointing Gerrard to the armband was one of Hodgson's first moves, and he said: "Steven has been fantastic ever since I was given the job.

"My first thought was to contact him and since then he hasn't put a foot wrong as a captain, a person or a player. He's playing like a captain should, as one of the best players in the tournament.''

All the goals were celebrated by Wayne Rooney, with the Manchester United striker's watching brief now over with his two-game suspension now expired. He will be free to play against Ukraine and Hodgson is keen to include him.

He added: "Against Ukraine, a player like Rooney can make a major difference and I am delighted to welcome him back. If I did leave him out, all hell might break loose in the dressing room!''

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