England national team manager Roy Hodgson has explained his decision to withdraw captain Wayne Rooney in the second half of the Euro 2016 qualifier against San Marino on Saturday evening.
The Manchester United skipper was somewhat surprisingly substituted in the 59th minute despite being just one goal away from becoming the all-time leading goalscorer for the Three Lions.
The 29-year-old equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s total of 49 with a penalty in the first-half and with the international minnows showing signs of fatigue after the interval, many would have thought Rooney would have gone on to break the record which has stood for over four decades if he had stayed on the pitch.
Hodgson explained his decision in a post-match interview and said the plan before the game was to give the striker up to an hour of football against San Marino:
“It was in our thoughts to keep Wayne on for 45 to 60 minutes because other players needed to play,” he said [via Standard Sport].
“We played well today and players like Jonjo Shelvey had a good game on a very difficult pitch,” the England boss added.
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Further strikes from Ross Barkley, Harry Kane and a brace from Theo Walcott sealed a 6-0 victory for the Three Lions and the result booked their place at next summer’s European Championships in France.