Ukraine v England

Hodgson: Rooney can be our Pele

England boss hopes returning striker can shine for nation

ESPN staff

Wayne Rooney is expected to partner Danny Welbeck up front against Ukraine

Roy Hodgson believes the returning Wayne Rooney can be England's very own Pele when they take on Ukraine looking to secure progress from Group D.

England face co-hosts Ukraine on Tuesday night in the knowledge that a draw will be enough to clinch qualification for the quarter-finals, while top spot is also feasible depending on France's result against Sweden.

Hodgson will be boosted by the availability of star striker Rooney for the fixture, having been without the Manchester United player for the opening two matches due to suspension.

And the Three Lions coach is backing Rooney to make a significant impact, likening the forward to Brazil legend Pele, who lifted three World Cup trophies with his nation.

He said: "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.

"Let's hope that Wayne Rooney can start to do that for us and then, if we win, who knows? If Wayne can produce his best, he can help us keep going even further.

"Everyone knows what Wayne Rooney's all about. He makes us more threatening going forward. He's a world-class player and I can see it in his eyes that he's itching to get out there and perform. He could, hopefully, make the difference."


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