England manager Roy Hodgson has no concerns over the general fitness of striker Wayne Rooney
Last Updated: September 7, 2012 9:17am
Wayne Rooney: Not a cause of concern for England boss Roy Hodgson
England manager Roy Hodgson is adamant he has no concerns over the general fitness of Wayne Rooney and says the striker remains central to his World Cup plans.
The Manchester United frontman will not feature for England in Friday night's opening qualifier for Brazil 2014 in Moldova due to a gashed leg suffered against Fulham late last month.
There have also been recent questions about Rooney's fitness in general, with the 26-year-old admitting he has returning to pre-season training out of his best shape in the past.
But Hodgson insists he is happy with the striker's condition and sees him as a key player as England embark on the road to Brazil.
The manager said: "I don't have any concerns. He's a top striker and someone I want in the squad.
"We're talking about a star. And when a star maybe does not reach the level expected of him, criticism follows.
"But I have no criticism of him or his fitness."
Hodgson has moved to dispel suggestions Rooney was not fit for England's Euro 2012 campaign, having the missed the first two matches through suspension.
He added: "I'd dispute the fact he wasn't fit at the Euros.
"What he does in pre-season is a matter for Sir Alex Ferguson and his club. I can't make Wayne Rooney fit.
"I hope to see him in the United team fit and playing well, so I can welcome him back into the England squad."