From SHAUN CUSTIS
ROY HODGSON has urged his England stars to beat Sweden so Wayne Rooney can step in and blast them to glory.
Boss Hodgson reckons victory in Kiev on Friday would give Roo the perfect platform from which to set Euro 2012 on fire.
He declared: “Wayne Rooney should be our real ace in the hole. He is very fit and raring to go.”
The Manchester United ace has one game of his ban to serve, making him available for our final Group D game against Ukraine next Tuesday.
And with England boosted by their opening 1-1 draw against France, Hodgson is convinced the foundations are being laid for Rooney’s return.
Rooney is sure to start against the co-hosts in the showdown in Donetsk — a game that could see England on the plane home if they lose, whatever happens against the Swedes.
Hodgson, though, feels Rooney’s inclusion will give his side the extra dimension to propel them into the last eight.
He added: “Wayne really can’t wait to get on the field. And if he can play like Wayne Rooney, we’re going to be a bit more difficult to beat for some of these teams.
“You can only benefit from having someone of his quality in your team.”
Rooney’s return will most likely cost 18-year-old whiz-kid Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain his place, with Ashley Young moving back to the left flank.
First, though, Hodgson knows his men must see off a Sweden side smarting after their 2-1 defeat by Ukraine.
He said: “If we can have two more games of the quality we showed against France, I will, hopefully, have a smile on my face.”