Belfast Telegraph

Give England boss Roy Hodgson new deal, says Wayne Rooney

By Mark Ogden

Wayne Rooney has urged the Football Association to hand Roy Hodgson a new contract as England manager after hitting back at claims by chairman Greg Dyke that only a run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals will guarantee the 68-year-old's future in the job.

England can secure top spot in Group B, and avoid a potential quarter-final clash with hosts France in Paris, with a victory against Slovakia in Saint Etienne tonight.

With Hodgson's contract due to expire at the end of the tournament, England's performance in France will prove decisive in whether the FA decide to hand him the task of guiding the country to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

But Rooney insists that Hodgson's contribution as manager since replacing Fabio Capello just weeks before Euro 2012 should secure him a new deal, regardless of the outcome of Euro 2016.

"Of course we want him (Hodgson) to stay," Rooney said.

"That is down to his bosses but, as players, we want him to stay.

"It shouldn't go unnoticed the amount of young players he's introduced into the squad over the last four years.

"There was a big issue in terms of everyone saying we didn't have the young players coming through in England which other countries had.

"In fairness to the Premier League clubs, they've brought young players through and Roy has picked them and, in my opinion, created a very good team but also a fantastic atmosphere around the training ground.

"We now have a great base for England's future in the next six to eight years."

Rooney's comments on Hodgson's future came in response to Dyke - whose term of chairman ends next month - claiming on the BBC that England must reach the semi-finals in France to banish any debate over whether to offer the former Liverpool and Fulham manager a new contract.

"Clearly if you get to semi-finals, that's success," Dyke said.

"If we have played well and unfortunately lost against a good team, or on penalties (in the quarter-finals), then that's a discussion that will go on."

Meanwhile, Jamie Vardy (below) faces a three-week injury lay-off when he returns to Leicester City at the end of Euro 2016 after revealing that he will undergo surgery to resolve a long-standing wrist problem.

The England forward, who has yet to publicly decide on his club future following a £20m bid from Arsenal prior to his departure for France earlier this month, has been playing with a protective cast on his right arm since being injured during Leicester's Premier League victory against Aston Villa last September. And having dismissed suggestions that the cast has now become a lucky charm, Vardy has admitted that the failure of the bones to heal sufficiently means he will be forced to go under the knife following France 2016.

"No (it's not a superstition), I still need the cast on," Vardy said.

"I've got to have an operation after the tournament.

"I've got two big cracks in my wrist which need a bone graft once I get home, but it will only keep me out for three weeks."

Vardy has shelved a decision on his future until the end of the tournament, with the 29-year-old understood to be ready to reject Arsenal in favour of remaining with the champions.

Belfast Telegraph