Hodgson demands a team performance from Rooney tonight

Roy Hodgson is confident the returning Wayne Rooney will keep his cool in England’s make-or-break Euro 2012 Group D match with Ukraine in Donetsk tonight.

Hodgson confirmed yesterday that Rooney will start against the co-hosts after being unavailable for the opening two matches against France and Sweden through suspension.

Man of the moment: England’s Wayne Rooney during a training session in Kiev recently. PIC/AFP 

But boss Hodgson has no fears about Rooney’s self-control in what will be his first start since playing for Manchester United five weeks ago.

Hodgson said: “I am not concerned about Wayne going over the top. It is a good point to make but I am sure other people apart from myself will be keen to remind him what we want is a good team performance.

“We want him to help us win a game of football. I have been very impressed with his attitude in training and I have no fears about him. People say he may be ring rusty but from what I have seen he is every bit as sharp as when he played his last game for Manchester United.”

Walcott boost
England’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals received a boost after winger Theo Walcott was declared fit to face Ukraine.

Walcott, who produced a match-winning cameo from the substitutes bench in last Friday’s 3-2 win over Sweden, had been a doubt for Tuesday’s clash against the co-hosts after tweaking a hamstring on Sunday.

Key battles

Terry vs Shevchenko
This will be the battle to watch if Andriy Shevchenko can defy his knee problem to play tonight. But Terry will be determined not to let his former Chelsea clubmate get the better of him.

Rooney vs Mikhalik
Rooney will be starting for the first time after sitting out the opening two games through suspension. Defender Taras Mikhalik will have to be strong if he is to contain the Manchester United striker.

Gerrard vs Tymoshchuk
Ukraine will be aware of the need to stop the threat of England skipper Steven Gerrard’s pinpoint delivery and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk will be trying to nullify the Liverpool legend’s impact.

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