Roy Hodgson has claimed that Wayne Rooney’s place in the England side is not guaranteed ahead of the European Championships this summer.
Manchester United forward Rooney recently returned from a two-month injury lay-off, putting in a solid display in the 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
However, Rooney’s critics believe that Man United and England may be better off without him in the side. Hodgson warned several members of the England squad that they will have to prove their fitness and form in the weeks ahead.
“I think we have got a very interesting situation going ahead with four or five players, all of whom could quite easily be mechanically fit and capable of taking part of the Euros, but will be returning from very long injuries,” Hodgson said.
“I think I will have plenty to talk about, myself, Ray (Lewington) and Gary (Neville), when we look at the whole group that could possibly be there.
“There’s no disguising the fact that people like Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, for example, Wayne Rooney, a year ago they were five players who were getting into every squad.
“Things have happened to them and we have to reassess. If we can be sure they are at the level of fitness and capability to produce the performances they produced a year ago and we are convinced they can do it, they will be serious contenders. If we are not convinced, we have to give it some thought.”
Hodgson has previously said that Rooney, England’s all-time record goalscorer, will definitely go the Euros if fit.
Rooney is a valuable and experienced player for United and England but there is no doubting that his performance levels have declined in recent years. It will be interesting to see if he can prove his doubters wrong in the final part of the campaign.