Donetsk: England manager Roy Hodgson believes the returning Wayne Rooney can be a pivotal figure as the Three Lions aim to secure a spot in the final eight of Euro 2012. Though Rooney failed to score at the World Cups in 2006 and 2010, Hodgson suggested that the Manchester United striker’s influence on England could be similar to that of Pele for Brazil in major competitions.
"If you look back through the years, if you take Pele for example, he was capable of producing his very best football when it really mattered to help Brazil win World Cups,'' he told ITV. "Let's hope that Wayne Rooney can start to do that for us on Tuesday night and then, if we win, who knows? If Wayne can produce his best, then he can help us keep going even further."
England are looking a rejuvenated outfit after holding France and beating Sweden, and with Rooney available for selection after serving a two-match ban Hodgson’s positivity was understandable. "His attitude was perfect in training sessions. He has been very lively, energetic and enthusiastic. That's a positive," Hodgson told BBC Sport.
The England manager is expected to bring the Manchester United player straight back into his team for the game against Ukraine.
England only require a draw against Ukraine in Donetsk's Donbass Arena on Tuesday to qualify from Group D.