Roy Hodgson admits Wayne Rooney has been through a “difficult time” but the England boss was delighted to see his captain net in the Champions League.
After naming his latest England squad for the friendlies against Spain and France, the Three Lions coach congratulated Rooney on a variety of milestones, despite his indifferent form for Manchester United.
Rooney, though, headed in the winner for the Red Devils in their Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow earlier this week and Hodgson was delighted to see his skipper back among the goals.
“It’s good to see him score a goal,” Hodgson said.
“It’s been a difficult time for him and it’s nice to see him score a crucial goal in a Champions League match and I congratulate him on that.
“He’s just turned 30 which is another milestone and he has equalled Denis Law’s record (for goals at Manchester United) so that is another milestone. Autumn has been a great milestone period for him and I rejoice with him.”
Asked about United’s tactics under Louis van Gaal, Hodgson added: “I don’t get involved in that debate. I think it’s up to every club manager to use his players the way he wants to use them and get his team to play the way he wants to and I must do the same with the England team.”
In his latest squad, Hodgson took the opportunity to give Tottenham’s Eric Dier his first senior call-up.
Of the Spurs utility player, Hodgson said: “He’s done very well. Obviously it’s a position in the centre of midfield where we wanted someone of a more defensive bent and there are not a lot of those players available to us.
“We are much more blessed in terms of forward players or attack-minded players but this is a good opportunity for him. Having seen what he can do for Tottenham we can see what he can do for us.”
While several players are missing through injury, Hodgson is satisfied he has been able to put together a squad of experienced players who are all in the frame for Euro 2016.
“It’s November so we still don’t know who will be available and what sort of group we will have in June,” he said.
“But this is a great opportunity for us to have a look at some players who have spent a lot of time with us but perhaps not had as much game time.
“You can see from the squad there are not too many newcomers or left-field selections so this is a good opportunity for us to learn more about players that we believe in and give them a chance to stake a greater claim to be in the 23 next year and test ourselves against two top-class teams.”
There was no place in the squad for Tottenham winger Andros Townsend after he was banished from the first team by manager Mauricio Pochettino following the player’s public dispute with a fitness coach.
“I’m sad for that, for Tottenham, for him,” Hodgson said of the situation.
“I’m pleased to see him apologise and we will keep a close eye on him.”