CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: Roy Hodgson hailed the impact of Wayne Rooney on English football in general on the night England captain’s picked up his 100th international cap and converted a penalty in a 3-1 win over Slovenia.
England fell behind at the beginning of the second half at Wembley in their Euro 2016 qualifier but Rooney soon won a penalty and converted it to spark the fightback.
After the match, Hodgson praised his captain’s performance and general demeanour.
He said: “To me as an England manager he’s very important of course but I think he is very important to English football. I think what he’s achieved for English football is well documented but I thought it very fitting that tonight he was able to really get his reward as well on the night where it’s all about him.
“He picks up the cap but also scores the first important goal and he also leads England to victory in his 100th game. I’m sure he’s delighted, we’re delighted for him.
“He is an important person and he’s taken the captaincy extremely seriously; he puts all his energy, enthusiasm and passion into that captaincy and I’m delighted tonight we can congratulate him and hopefully there’ll be some nice things said about him tomorrow.”
The result saw England extend their perfect record in Group E but Hodgson conceded that his side did not create the chances they wanted in an underwhelming and goalless first half.
However, the 67-year-old gave credit to the opposition’s discipline and organisation in defence before they eventually wilted and England grew in confidence after making it 1-1.
“It would’ve been nice if we could have played like that all the way through but Slovenia had something to say in the matter,” he said. “It would be churlish of me to sit here after a victory of three goals to one over one of the major rivals in the group and start criticising the team because in the first half they didn’t quite reach the heights.”
Slovenia coach Srecko Katanec rued his side’s capitulation against what he saw as the group favourites.
He said: “We had a good chance but in the end we are sorry because we missed a nice opportunity because you can see even England has some problems and we couldn’t take this opportunity.”
Katanec’s side trail group leaders England by six points four games into the campaign.
Elsewhere in the group, San Marino won their first point in European Championship qualifying history as they drew 0-0 with Estonia.
The result ended a 61-game losing run for the country in a good weekend for Europe’s underdogs after the Faroe Islands beat Greece 1-0 on Friday, while Liechtenstein overcame Moldova 1-0.