• International football

Hodgson warns Rooney to expect provocation

ESPN staff
March 17, 2013
Wayne Rooney was sent off against Montenegro in 2011 © Getty Images

Roy Hodgson has told Wayne Rooney to be ready for provocation as he prepares to return to Montenegro with England for a World Cup qualifier.

Rooney was sent off for England 17 months ago during a Euro 2012 qualifier after kicking out at Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic.

In an attempt to stop a repeat of that incident, which saw Rooney suspended for the first two games of the tournament, Hodgson has spoken to his squad about his concerns.

He said: "They are the type of things players need to come to terms with and be prepared for. All the players will be made aware that we are playing away against an important rival for the top spot in the group.

"They have to be ready to play the game, tactically, technically and mentally."

Hodgson added: "Wayne doesn't seem to have been affected in any game we have played by opponents.

"His disciplinary record is good with us and he has not let me down, and I've got no reason to doubt him.

"Wayne made a mistake, he has held his hand up and publicly admitted it was a mistake what he did. He paid a high price for it because he missed two Euro 2012 games.

"He won't need me to remind him because it will be fresh in his memory because you don't forget being sent off."

England will confront an intimidating atmosphere in Podgorica but Hodgson knows his players have to cope with such tests if they are to be successful.

He said: "I think it will be intimidating. A lot of those former Yugoslav countries are very passionate. They have fantastic support and as the away team, they let you know you are the away team but you have got to learn to deal with those things.

"If ever we are going to do anything worthwhile at international level, we've got to be capable of playing in atmospheres which are not in our favour.

"I have no reason to think there will be any problems there. The only things you can accuse the Montenegrins of is feverishly supporting their team and that is not a crime.

"We will talk about it, we will be ready for it. That will be part of our preparations, to make certain mentally we've got some idea of what we are going into."

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