Monday, 18 March 2013

Hodgson not worried by Rooney's temper troubles

England boss Roy Hodgson says he is not concerned about Wayne Rooney’s disciplinary record ahead of his side’s clash with Montenegro later this month.

Last time the Three Lions played in Podgorica, they were leading 2-0 before the Manchester United striker was sent-off for lashing out at an opponent.

England ended up drawing that game 2-2, with Rooney being handed a two-match ban for the incident, meaning he missed the first two games of Euro 2012.

This wasn’t the first time that the 27-year-old’s temper had got the better of him in a big match, after he was previously sent-off for stamping on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho in the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup. Indeed, punters who bet on football regularly back Rooney to see red.

Following draws against Poland and Ukraine, the Three Lions currently sit second behind the Montenegrins in their World Cup qualifying group, and the upcoming clashes against both San Marino and Branko Brnovic’s men are sure to prove vital in their bid to qualify for Brazil in 2014.

This means Rooney is likely to be once again under the spotlight but Hodgson says he won’t be taking any special measures to ensure the striker keeps his head at the Stadion Pod Goricom.

"I don't think I will speak to Wayne personally on the matter because he is more than aware (of what happened),” the boss said to football betting news reporters. "When you have been sent off in a game, you don't forget your sendings off.

"I will be speaking to all the players. Away matches at this level of football require a lot of discipline, not only tactical discipline but also mental.

"But I won't be singling out Wayne for that. He has not let me down as a player so I have no reason to doubt him," he added.

Rio furore a waste as defender withdraws from England

The mass debate that surrounded Roy Hodgson’s decision to recall Rio Ferdinand to the England squad appears to have been a complete waste of time after the defender announced his withdrawal from this week’s World Cup qualifiers.

Ferdinand’s inclusion sparked huge interest in the betting world with fans, pundits and pub landlords alike all happy to give their views on the decision to recall the centre-back.

For many, the defender’s return would only further signify Hodgson’s weak management, for the boss only last years excluded Ferdinand for England’s Euro 2012 squad. For others, however, Rio’s comeback was to spark a greater solidarity in England’s defence that could prove vital to their qualification for Brazil.

Regardless of which argument has most truth, the fact is Rio now won’t don the England shirt for upcoming clashes against San Marino and Montenegro.

The reason for his withdrawal is based on Ferdinand’s physical routine at club side Manchester United, where his deteriorating body is kept in check via a “detailed medical programme he must follow” – according to Hodgson.

So while he is happy to play for England, his appearances must come in line with his progression at Old Trafford.

The more suspicious of England fans in World cup 2014 betting markets may wonder if United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has had any influence over proceedings, but we are not here to point fingers.

Instead, fans should just be pleased Ferdinand is willing to play for his country and put previous bad blood – such as his relationship with Ashley Cole – behind him. He is a professional and a good one at that, and if his influence on the team helps us qualify for Brazil 2014 then Hodgson’s decision to bring him back will be more than vindicated.