• Euro 2012

Hodgson welcomes headache ahead of Rooney return

ESPN staff
June 16, 2012
Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll face the prospect of being dropped © PA Photos

Roy Hodgson confirmed Wayne Rooney will return to the starting line-up after serving his two-game ban, but the England boss hailed his other strikers for their goalscoring efforts in the 3-2 win over Sweden.

Rooney will make his comeback in the final Group D clash with co-hosts Ukraine on Tuesday. Despite both scoring crucial goals against Sweden, Hodgson declared either Danny Welbeck or Andy Carroll will certainly make way for Rooney.

"I welcome those kind of selection problems," said Hodgson. "I was really pleased with the performance of the front players.

"But Wayne Rooney is a special player and, frankly, it will be hard to leave him out. I'm afraid you expect him to get back into the team when the suspension is served."

Carroll nodded England in front in the first half, while Welbeck flicked home the winner from a Theo Walcott cross in the final moments of the match. Walcott also netted the equaliser himself as he made a dramatic impact after coming on as a substitute.

"Theo's contribution was enormous," said Hodgson. "To come on as a sub, score and set up the winner means he'll be very happy.

"It was a good move [in the lead-up to the winner]. Theo was able to skip away from the full-back and showed a lot of composure to find Danny at the near post.

"He timed his run very well and it was a very clever finish with the pirouette past the goalkeeper who thought he was going to toe it towards the near post. It was a great goal to win the game."

Welbeck and Carroll will battle it out to partner Rooney as England look for the point required to progress beyond the group stage. However, after a match-winning cameo, Walcott may also come into contention for a starting berth.

"Of course I believe in him," said Hodgson. "He's a good player with good qualities. That's why I selected him in my 23.

"I have only worked with these guys for a month and am still learning what they're really good at, and what areas we can find improvement. But I was delighted with his performance tonight."

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