Wayne Rooney believes England’s performance against Russia in Marseille offered proof of the ability of Roy Hodgson’s emerging players to succeed at Euro 2016.
Having thrown away a crucial opening game victory by conceding in stoppage time to emerge from Stade Velodrome with a 1-1 draw, England must now defeat Wales in Lens on Thursday to retain realistic hope of qualifying as winners from Group B.
But with England dominating against Leonid Slutsky’s team, England captain Rooney insists that the game generated more positives than negatives.
“I think for such a young and inexperienced squad, the way we controlled the game was excellent,” Rooney said. “We had a 10-15 min period where we had to settle it down a little bit but we got through that, we settled down and got the goal
“We had good chances, but that’s football and you’ve got to take them. Obviously we got the goal and had the game in our hands, so it’s very disappointing not to win.
“But there are certainly a lot of positives and I feel if we continue to play like that, then we’ll be ok.
“Obviously, the negative is the goal we conceded and that is disappointing. It feels like a defeat but it’s a point.
“We have to take it, move on and play a similar way on Thursday and if we do we will be fine.”
Rooney faced the Russians in the new role of midfield playmaker after being dropped deeper by manager Roy Hodgson – a role he has taken on in recent months at United.
But although he was replaced by Jack Wilshere late in the game, Rooney insists that his switch to a new position was a success.
[Hodgson is] doing what he feels is right at that moment and that’s why he’s paid to be manager, to make those decisions.
“It worked well” Rooney said. “In midfield, we complemented each other’s games well.
“Obviously it’s my first game there for England, but I’ve played the last few months there for United, so I’m used to that position and I think it worked well for me and the team.”
Hodgson withdrew Rooney on the grounds of tiredness, but the player claimed he was ready to play on.
“I wasn’t tired, but that’s the manager’s decision, I respect it,” Rooney said. “He’s doing what he feels is right at that moment and that’s why he’s paid to be manager, to make those decisions.”