Rooney left England too early – Hodgson
England’s all-time leading scorer worked with Hodgson during his four years in charge of the Three Lions.
Crystal Palace visit Everton on Sunday with Roy Hodgson believing Wayne Rooney should still be lining up for their opponents.
Rooney excelled for England under the current Palace manager, who made him captain, and has continued to demonstrate his talents since leaving Goodison Park for DC United and Major League Soccer during the summer.
In his absence, Everton continue to lack a consistent, goalscoring striker, and after Rooney’s most recent goal to secure a 1-0 victory over Toronto, Hodgson said of the 32-year-old he worked with for four years: “He left England too early. He still has much to offer.
“He is doing fantastically well. At DC they were well down in the league when he got there, although they hadn’t played too many games, but since he’s arrived he has been fantastic, not just scoring goals, but decisive goals, like the one we saw in midweek.
“There is no doubt the talent he has, showing he could still play top level English football.
“But it was his decision and after Manchester United and Everton, where he had tremendous affinity, deep roots, maybe he would not have been that interested in playing for another English club outside those two.
“It was a conscious decision to play abroad. I have a great deal of respect for Wayne, and I think he does for me.
“I would have loved him here at Palace, but he thought long and hard about his decision, and without a shadow of doubt would have talked it over with his family.
“I am delighted to see what success he is having. I guess he is doing what DC United were really hoping for when they signed him. They just didn’t want a figurehead but also a player who can win them matches, and he has done that.”
Everton have rediscovered a sense of creativity since Marco Silva’s appointment as manager, but strikers Cenk Tosun, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse are struggling in front of goal.
Between them they have four goals this season – six less than Rooney has in a less competitive league by himself – and David Moyes, who managed him at Everton and Manchester United, told Press Association Sport: “Wayne’s done a remarkable job at DC. I went to watch one of the games a few weeks ago, and you can see that he’s had a big influence on the team.
“I’m sure he’s probably having a big influence around the club and the demands he’ll want from them, because Wayne’s played at the top level throughout his career and been a top player.
“One hundred per cent he’s capable (of still playing in England) – I actually think he might have been a little bit unlucky. Maybe things weren’t the right time for him maybe to go back to Everton, for different reasons.
“He’s undoubtedly always been a goalscorer, he can score in any company anywhere in the world, and he’s always been a remarkably good footballer, and that’s why he’ll do well wherever he goes.”
Palace, who have also struggled for goals, will hand late fitness tests to Wilfried Zaha, Max Meyer and Alexander Sorloth before Hodgson selects his starting XI. Zaha picked up an adductor injury during the international break, while Meyer and Sorloth are battling viruses.