Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Euro 2012: Hodgson hits back at Capello's Rooney comments

KIEV, UKRAINE - JUNE 24: England manager, Roy Hodgson speaks with Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney during the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between England and Italy at The Olympic Stadium on June 24, 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

England manager Roy Hodgson has dismissed predecessor Fabio Capello's comments about Wayne Rooney as "cheap".

Capello, who managed England for four years before resigning four months before Euro 2012, told Italian radio that the Manchester United striker "only understands Scottish" because he only played well for Sir Alex Ferguson.



Rooney, who was suspended for the first two games of the tournament, was visibly short of his best in the two matches he did play, including the quarter-final exit to Italy.



Although Rooney did score his first goal at a major tournament since Euro 2004 - a point-blank header against Ukraine in the final group match - he has often struggled to influence matches for England in the way he regularly does at club level.



But Hodgson was full of praise for Rooney's attitude and commitment and did not welcome Capello's input on the subject.



"Capello is entitled to his opinions, I suppose. I don't know what relationship he would have had with Wayne but I always think it's a bit cheap to kid on a player who was so anxious to do well," he told TalkSPORT.



"His attitude was magnificent. He was putting in extra work in training because he was concerned he was behind the others having missed the first two games through suspension.



"He was trying to do extra work and we were trying to put the brakes on. His desire to do well was enormous.



"In the final game [against Italy] he, along with one or two other players, didn't play to the level he can but that's what football is about. If every player was a robot and played at the same level in every game then football would be a very simple game and we wouldn't need coaches."

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