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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 26 January 2021

Rooney calls on England to improve after win over 10-man Portugal

The skipper knows England must up their level at Euro 2016 but was pleased to make it three warm-up wins out of three against Portugal.

Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy
Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy

CAPTAIN WAYNE ROONEY conceded there was plenty of room for improvement after England concluded their Euro 2016 preparations with a 1-0 win over 10-man Portugal at Wembley.

Rooney and Manchester United colleague Chris Smalling were playing in front of their new club manager Jose Mourinho in the stands and the latter player headed home Raheem Sterling’s cross four minutes from time for a maiden international goal.

Mourinho’s compatriots played with reduced numbers for 55 minutes after experienced defender Bruno Alves was deservedly punished kicking Harry Kane in the head with a rash, flying challenge.

England found it difficult to break Portugal down thereafter, struggling for fluency and creativity, and Rooney did not allow Smalling’s late intervention to paper over the cracks.

“We won the game but it was always difficult. They went to 10 men and that [struggling against depleted opponents] can happen in football,” he told ITV.

“We kept going and we got the win. That was obviously important to us.

“I thought we were the better team, I thought even at 11 v 11 we were the better team.

We need to play better, we know that. But it’s a good sign when you don’t play as well as you can do and you win the game.”

Rooney lined up in the same England starting XI as strikers Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy for the first time and the attacking trio largely failed to fire, with the Tottenham and Leicester City stars too often confined to duties out wide.

Hodgson’s skipper confirmed that forward line-up is under consideration for next weekend’s opening Euro 2016 Group B match with Russia but insisted England’s destiny will be decided by more than three players.

“We didn’t have many chances, any of us. It’s something the manager is working on and Portugal made it difficult,” Rooney explained.

“There are 23 men in the squad, it’s not three players. It’s 23 and it’s about all of us.”

Despite not always convincing in previous outings against Turkey and Australia, England head to France on the back of three consecutive friendly wins and Rooney added: ”We are ready.

“We’ve made a lot of changes to the team and we haven’t been at our best but we have won the three games, which is important – especially for a young team.”

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Bruno Alves looked like Ken in Street Fighter with this flying kick to Harry Kane’s head

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