Football

Rooney salutes ‘brilliant’ Gerrard

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England match-winner Wayne Rooney has hailed the efforts of captain Steven Gerrard after last night’s 1-0 win against Ukraine.

The Liverpool star produced a pinpoint cross for his international teammate on 48 minutes, with the Manchester United striker nodding home unopposed at the far post.

Having missed a decent opportunity with his head in the first period, Rooney made no mistake from a yard out this time, but was quick to heap praise on the talismanic Gerrard post-match.

"Steven's delivery has been exceptional in this tournament. He's a world-class player and I thought tonight he was really brilliant,” said the striker.

"He drove us on at times. We're lucky to have a player like that in the team."

Rooney missed the opening two games of Euro 2012 for the Three Lions, serving a two-match ban for his red card against Montenegro in the qualifying matches.

But, having returned to action with the team on four points and in a position to progress, the 27-year-old was delighted to play his part in reaching the quarter-finals as Group D winners.

"It was great to get three points and it’s always a great feeling to score. My overall game could have been a bit better but it was my first game for a while,” he added.

"The one thing I was delighted with was that I was always putting myself in goalscoring opportunities. I could have done better with a couple more but I got the goal and its three points."

England now face Italy – runners-up in Group C – in the last eight of the competition on Sunday night in Kyiv.

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