England will feel Rooney's Euro absence, warns Hodgson
Published 08:31 12/03/12 By MirrorFootball
West Brom boss Roy Hodgson fears England will be left to regret Wayne Rooney's absence from their first two games of Euro 2012.
The Manchester United striker took his tally for the season to 26 at Old Trafford yesterday as he scored either side of the interval against West Brom to secure a win that took the Red Devils back to the Premier League summit for the first time since mid-October.
Sir Alex Ferguson has now challenged Rooney to reach 40, which would eclipse his previous best total of 34 in 2010.
That campaign ended with an ankle injury that badly affected Rooney's performances in the World Cup.
This time, even if he stays fit, the 26-year-old will miss matches against France and Sweden as a result of his red card in Montenegro last October.
"Rooney is a world-class player and will be a major loss for England in the first two matches of Euro 2012," Hodgson said.
"We have come to terms for so long now that he won't be there that you start to think it won't matter and we will get over it.
"But I think you will find that the end of those two matches a lot of people are going to be talking about the fact Wayne Rooney was suspended and had he been able to play it would have helped England's chances."
Rooney's first came before the break, when he toed home a shot from an acute angle by Javier Hernandez.
United had already survived a couple of scares, then escaped what appeared to be a penalty box foul by Patrice Evra on Peter Odemwingie before Jonas Olsson was sent off.
Hodgson felt that was the pivotal moment in the game because not long afterwards, Keith Andrews was adjudged to have fouled Ashley Young, allowing Rooney to convert the penalty.
"Wayne is on a hot streak," said Ferguson.
"I thought his first goal might have been offside because he was so clear but when you see his timing of the run it was fantastic."
Ferguson confirmed Nani had missed out after suffering "a bruise" in training, although he avoided a question about Brazilian midfielder Anderson, who was also absent.
Both men look certain to miss the midweek Europa League trip to Athletic Bilbao, which is likely to be given secondary status given the fact United are trailing from Thursday's first leg at Old Trafford and their newly-acquired league position.
"I don't think we have been given the credit we deserve," said Rooney.
"Fair enough, Europe has been disappointing but we have had really tough games in the Premier League.
"We have played a lot of the top teams. Sometimes we have not been at our best but we have still got the wins."