Football

Roy Hodgson, right, is pleased Wayne Rooney has rediscovered his goalscoring touch with Manchester United.

Roy Hodgson: Wayne Rooney an important player for England

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England head coach Roy Hodgson believes captain Wayne Rooney will be "a player we need to depend upon" at this summer's European Championship in France.

Rooney's form for Manchester United had been a source of concern before the turn of the year, with the striker going eight games without finding the net in the Premier League earlier this season.

However, he has rediscovered his goalscoring touch with seven goals in eight games in all competitions in 2016, much to Hodgson's relief.

"We are pleased Wayne has pulled himself out of that trough," Hodgson said of England's all-time record goalscorer on the BBC's Match of the Day programme.

"He's an important player, our captain and a player we need to depend upon for the Euros."

Hodgson also paid tribute to the form of Tottenham striker Harry Kane and Leicester's Jamie Vardy - although he was keeping his cards close to his chest over his preferred selections.

"We have a lot of possibilities in terms of formation," said Hodgson.

"We can play in a diamond, or with one centre forward, and the big thing is Kane and Vardy who have both been such a sensation."

Another area where England have plenty of options is the goalkeeping slot.

While Manchester City's Joe Hart is in possession of the number one jersey, Jack Butland has made several impressive performances for Stoke in this campaign and Fraser Forster has marked his return from a serious knee injury with six consecutive clean sheets.

Hodgson added: "Having him (Forster) and Joe (Hart) and Jack (Butland) means we are as strong as England have been.

"I tried to keep in touch with the players. Fraser is a very good character. Joe is playing well, Jack is playing well."

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