England head coach Roy Hodgson has strongly hinted that he will retain Wayne Rooney in a midfield role for the crunch showdown with Wales on Thursday.
Having conceded a last-minute equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Russia on Saturday, the pressure is on the Three Lions ahead of the game in Lens, with Hodgson’s side needing a positive result to stay on track for the knockout stages of Euro 2016.
We have quality going forward and we are ready to take on anybody.Aaron Ramsey
However, Hodgson saw plenty of positives against the Russians, one of which was the performance of skipper Rooney in a deeper role which he has occupied for Manchester United in recent times.
He told reporters: “I think it would have been harder if Wayne hadn’t been playing that position for United. That’s what made it a solution for us.
“We definitely wanted Wayne in the team for this game, definitely wanted him to captain the team in the opening game for a number of reasons.
“We also really wanted to see (Raheem) Sterling and (Adam) Lallana in the wider positions, because we felt they would cause Russia some problems and I thought they did.”
England are priced at 4/7 to defeat Wales on Thursday and are 5/1 to claim a 1-0 victory, with the Three Lions 1/8 to progress from Group B.
Meanwhile, Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey says his side will be ready and raring to go against England on Thursday, having opened their Group B campaign with a 2-1 win over Slovakia.
He added: “We wanted to start off well in this competition and we’ve managed to do that.
“We work hard for each other, we have quality going forward and we are ready to take on anybody.”