Hodgson clear on Rooney situation
Roy Hodgson has no intention of telling his Chelsea contingent to steer clear of Wayne Rooney next week.
With the full backing of Manchester United manager David Moyes, Hodgson has included Rooney in his England squad for next week's friendly with Scotland even though the striker has yet to play a competitive game during pre-season due to hamstring and shoulder injuries.
Whilst the move suits all parties given Rooney's obvious lack of match practice but importance within the Three Lions fold, it does expose the 27-year-old to contact with senior players at Chelsea, who have seen their interest in the striker rebuffed by United this summer.
Yet Hodgson can see little point in warning his Chelsea contingent to steer clear of Rooney, particularly as Ashley Cole is a close personal friend of the former Everton man.
"That might be difficult," said Hodgson.
"Ashley Cole and Wayne are quite close friends. David Moyes must know that as well.
"If they weren't speaking in a hotel, they would be speaking on the telephone.
"I must say my thoughts have been so focused on what squad I can get together that I haven't taken it into real consideration.
"That's not to say I shouldn't and I do accept a duty of care because both David Moyes and Jose Mourinho have been fully supportive and understand my situation."
It might amount to the same thing, but Hodgson's stance stems from a need to maintain focus on England's last game before crucial World Cup qualifiers in September and October rather than talk about which club his talisman will be at by the time the national side reconvenes next month.
"I will try make it clear to everybody that this is England," he said.
"During these two or three days this is England against Scotland and, even more importantly, the matches beyond.
"I don't expect anybody to fracture their concentration from what's important."
Yet Hodgson must be aware of Rooney's news value.
That he trained with United's reserve squad this morning spread like wildfire, with the immediate assumption being that the move had been triggered by Moyes who had grown weary of the player, in much the same way as Brendan Rodgers appears to have done with Luis Suarez.
The conclusion was incorrect, with Rooney having requested he skip a light first-team session ahead of Rio Ferdinand's testimonial on Friday night in preference for a more strenuous session with the second string in order to build up his fitness.
As it happens, the move may have a positive spin-off for England given Rooney's failure to make a public appearance during the past four weeks.
"Obviously the situation is not an easy one at the moment for David and Wayne Rooney," said Hodgson.
"That is not something I intend to comment about.
"For me it is about whether Wayne Rooney is physically fit. Can he join up with us? Can we use him? If we are going to use him, how long will it be for?"
Hodgson accepts they are questions he will not get the answer to until England meet up at St George's Park on Sunday evening, after United's Community Shield encounter with Wigan.
"I have spoken to Wayne, who is keen to be part of this but is also aware he might not be able to give us the full service he normally does because of what has been happening to him fitness-wise," said Hodgson.
Although Rooney has until the evening of September 2 to sort his future out, Hodgson must hope it is resolved long before given England face Moldova just four days later.
"I prefer at the moment not to get the crystal ball out but it is always a concern when players that you count on are not getting a regular game with their clubs," said Hodgson.
"If we are to look back over the last year and a bit, we have had that situation on a regular basis.
"Wayne is a senior player and senior players do need a more regular game than the younger players sometimes.
"We cannot escape any of these facts but I remain hopeful everything will get sorted out long before we play Moldova."