England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted there was too much pressure on Wayne Rooney to perform to distinction at Euro 2012, but added that this was to be expected given the Manchester United striker's supreme talent.
Rooney was suspended for England's first two fixtures in Group D, and watched from the stands as Hodgson's side claimed a draw against France and narrowly beat Sweden.
The 26-year-old scored on his return to action against Ukraine as England triumphed 1-0, but Rooney looked off colour after a five week absence from competitive football.
Rooney was even more anonymous in England's quarter-final encounter with Italy, failing to produce the talismanic display that had been hoped of him as the Three Lions were defeated on penalties once again.
Hodgson has now conceded that perhaps too much was expected for England's star man, but the former Fulham manager says the pressure on Rooney was fair given his standing in the game.
"Do we put too much expectation on Rooney? Well we do, but so do other teams with their players, don't they? I think had (Andrea) Pirlo played poorly, it might have affected the Italians' performance," Hodgson said during an England press conference.
"I think in all top international teams, you're looking at one, two, possibly three individuals that everyone recognises as being exceptional world-class talents.
"When you get to the big stage, you're hoping those players perform and show they're world-class talents, like the Maradonas that win Argentina a World Cup with his performance."
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