Hodgson: Rooney the ultimate professional


England head coach Roy Hodgson praised Wayne Rooney's professionalism after his captain was utilised in an unfamiliar role in the international friendlies against Spain and France.

Rooney was a second half substitute in Alicante on Friday before starting on the right wing at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, with Hodgson eager to experiment with his squad.

Hodgson denied Rooney was omitted from the game with European Champions Spain because of form that has seen him score just seven goals in 18 games all competitions this season.

"He is the ultimate professional," Hodgson said. "He wasn't dropped [against Spain].

"We realised with all the players we have missing that there was going to be an element of experimentation in these two matches.

"You can never doubt his professionalism, his desire to do the right thing for England and his ability and capacity to sacrifice himself for the team. As a coach those are the players you want.

"We had a plan for the France game, which might have had an even bolder tactical set-up than the one we used. But when we lost Fabian Delph that threw it out a bit.

"It meant asking Rooney to play in a slightly different position because I wanted to him, [Raheem] Sterling and [Harry] Kane on the pitch together. 

"He carried that out very well."