England boss Roy Hodgson has responded to criticism of his team selection for his side’s clash with Slovakia last week as they prepare to face Iceland.
Hodgson opted to make six changes to the line-up for their last group game, which in turn arguably played its part in their goalless draw.
England ended in second place in Group B, and will now face a bitterly difficult run to get to the final of Euro 2016 with the likes of France, Spain or Germany waiting in the coming rounds.
However, an irritated Hodgson hit back at critics after coming under fire for his decision to make so many changes to his side for the Slovakia, and was clearly unimpressed with what had been said about him and the game.
“I accept so many nonsenses that are said to me and written that I don’t often get a chance to put things right,” he told reporters. “I’d like to put one or two of them right.
“I’ve had to stick my chin out and say ‘I don’t care what anyone else thinks, Wayne Rooney is going to the Euros, Wayne Rooney is our captain and Wayne Rooney is going to play.’
“And now we didn’t score against Slovakia despite 29 shots and 15 corners and God knows what else, because Wayne Rooney didn’t play more than 30 minutes.
“Well, excuse me, I find it hard to go along with that line of argument, that I should now regret the fact that I didn’t start with Rooney or that I didn’t start with (Harry) Kane and (Raheem) Sterling who, if I had started with them and lost the game, I would have been criticised.”
The 68-year-old insisted that performances from England have been good so far in the tournament, and he remains confident that they will begin to improve, particularly in the final third, moving forward.
Nevertheless, having been held to two draws in the group stage with a dramatic late goal needed to overcome Wales, Hodgson will be desperate to see his side click into place and get it right against Iceland on Monday night as an exit against their rivals could be disastrous for his reign as England boss.