Roy Hodgson must build on encouraging displays of Rooney and Lallana to keep England positive for crunch Wales clash

Trevor Steven
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Wayne Rooney's display was one of the encouraging elements of England's draw with Russia (Source: Getty)

The worst time at a major tournament – as many in this inexperienced England squad will be discovering now – is the period in between games when you haven’t had the result that you wanted.

Normally a team in this position would go back to what they know has got them through previous difficult times, but this young Three Lions team doesn’t have that history to draw on.

Instead, then, it falls to Roy Hodgson to get them to approach Thursday’s game against Wales with the same positive attitude that they took into Saturday’s opener against Russia.

Read more: Uefa threatens England and Russia with expulsion from Euro 2016

Hodgson will be spending the next few days trying to build on the best elements of that 1-1 draw.

It was pleasing and a relief to see Wayne Rooney used in a position where he was able to get on the ball and dictate the game, and most England players can say they’ve had a good start on an individual level.

Courageous Lallana

I thought Adam Lallana in particular contributed a lot. The midfielder was courageous and demonstrated that his technique, which makes him effective in tight areas, is well suited to the international game.

Kyle Walker was also excellent at right-back, but the most disappointing performance was from Raheem Sterling, who looks to be utterly bereft of confidence.

Sterling has mislaid the ability to play instinctively; instead he is thinking about everything he does, and you simply don’t have time to do that when playing for England.

You can’t come into the international team out of form and hope to find that belief by playing; you need to take the form into the England side. It’s a recipe for going nowhere and it’s not fair on Sterling or the team to pick him for the next game.

I don’t get why Harry Kane is taking corners and I didn’t agree with Eric Dier’s assertion that England hadn’t suffered for their lack of experience.

Naive Dier

In the end I think it did tell, and it was Dier who a little naively allowed one of the tallest men on the pitch, Vasili Berezutski, to run past him and into the box for Russia’s late equaliser.

Hodgson also made a mistake in withdrawing Rooney after Dier’s 73rd-minute strike. Russia must have been lifted by the sight of England’s most influential player jogging off. Roy’s got to keep him on.

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