Monday 23 June 2014

Rooney omitted amid wholesale changes

Wayne Rooney is among a host of players to miss out as Roy Hodgson rotates his squad for England’s FIFA World Cup clash with Costa Rica.

England go into their final Group D match on Tuesday knowing that, regardless of the result, they are heading home early following successive defeats to Italy and Uruguay.

Rooney has been one of the more heavily criticised players after a string of underwhelming performances, despite claiming an assist against Italy and scoring past Uruguay.

With England having nothing left to play for but pride, Hodgson revealed at his pre-match press conference that only two of his first-choice team will start in Belo Horizonte as he looks to give all of his squad some game time.

He said: "(Ben) Foster, (Phil) Jones, (Gary) Cahill, (Chris) Smalling, (Luke) Shaw, (James) Milner, (Frank) Lampard, (Jack) Wilshere, (Ross) Barkley, (Adam) Lallana and (Daniel) Sturridge are to start tomorrow against Costa Rica.

"This is a chance for us to show that we can compete with this team and it is a great opportunity for a lot of the players.

"When you fail at a World Cup and have to leave the tournament, that final game is the one that can lead us to the future.

"We are taking the game very seriously in its own right. My only interest is to win the game for us and our fans.

"I wanted everyone, or as many as possible, to go home having played in a game. We are conscious our fans are as devastated as we are."

Thirty-six-year-old Lampard is the oldest member of the squad in Brazil and, like captain Steven Gerrard, is expected by some to retire from international football after the tournament, but the midfielder insisted he has made no decision yet.

"I haven't made a decision on my future," he added. "I'm pleased to be involved tomorrow. After the game I'll think about my future.

"We are all disappointed with the campaign, but I can't say that looking back on my career it's been a disappointment."

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