Wayne Rooney is England’s ace in the hole

England manager Roy Hodgson has called Wayne Rooney the side’s ace in the hole, stating that the Manchester United man is raring to go.

The talented forward was sent off against Montenegro in the Three Lions’ final qualifying fixture, and as such is serving a ban and will miss the first two games of Euro 2012.

With England drawing their first match against France 1-1 and with Sweden next to play on Friday, Rooney will return for the crunch clash with Ukraine next week.

Hodgson has admitted that he wants to see improvement in the final third, and that Rooney will be the man to give them it.

“Our real ace in the hole should be Wayne Rooney because he is very fit and raring to go,” said Hodgson according to The Telegraph.

“He really can’t wait to get on the field and if he can play like Wayne Rooney, then we’re going to be a bit more difficult to beat for some of these teams because you can only benefit from having someone of his quality in your team.

“It’s in the final third where we need improvement. Once or twice, especially in the first half against France, there were some very promising counter-attacks and they broke down because we tried a one-touch pass to finish it off rather than taking that extra touch.

“The French were just the opposite. They don’t play a lot of one-touch football around the penalty box. They play a lot of two, three touches, holding on to the ball and asking another question. Sometimes we want to try and finish it off too quickly. That’s because of the intensity of the Premier League.

“You must remember we had Ashley Young, who hasn’t always played that position, and Danny Welbeck, who is 21 and did really well. You’ve got to make allowances for the fact that they had Karim Benzema, who is much older and playing for Real Madrid, and Samir Nasri. You can expect a bit more from them when they get in the final third than I can expect from our players at the moment.

“Glen Johnson made some good raiding runs down the right. The pass and the movement for James Milner’s chance was the type of thing we are looking for. That was a really good attack. A few other attacks foundered on the fact that we didn’t quite get the last pass right. We must make allowance for the fact that everyone was quite nervous going into the game,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight