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England boss Roy Hodgson defends Wayne Rooney substitution after 1-1 draw with Russia

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England conceded a stoppage time goal to Russia to draw their opening match of Euro 2016

England boss Roy Hodgson defended his decision to substitute Wayne Rooney after England conceded a last-gasp equaliser to draw 1-1 with Russia in their Euro 2016 opener.

Rooney was deployed in a new midfield role and impressed before being substituted in the 78th minute with England 1-0 to the good.

However, with Rooney off the field Hodgson's side were pegged back in stoppage time by Vasili Berezutski's looping header.

But Hodgson, who praised Rooney's performance, defended the decision to replace his captain with Jack Wilshere.

Jack Wilshere of England comes on a s second half substitute for Wayne Rooney of England during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B ma
Image: Jack Wilshere replaced Wayne Rooney with 12 minutes remaining

"I thought he [Rooney] had a good game, but was tiring," Hodgson said.

"Quite a lot of players out there were tiring because, although it wasn't baking hot, there was quite a humid atmosphere which saps the strength of the players. 

"We just thought, with the control we had in the game and Wilshere on the bench, we could have the luxury of taking Wayne off the field and that Jack would do a similar job. I think that's exactly what happened.

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"Always afterwards you can look and think 'Could we have used more subs? Could we have done a bit more?' But we didn't honestly believe we were in great difficulties during that time and we thought we'd see the game out 1-0.

"If anything, we replaced Raheem Sterling, who had worked very hard, with James Milner with a view perhaps to seeing the game out, but were unlucky to concede the late goal."

Image: Rooney impressed against Russia in a new midfield role

Berezutski's late equaliser denied England a first ever opening-game win at a European Championship.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, Hodgson could not hide his disappointment but thinks his side will get over the setback quickly as they look ahead to their next game against Wales on Thursday in Lens.

England's coach Roy Hodgson attends the Euro 2016 group B football match between England and Russia at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 11, 2016. /
Image: Roy Hodgson defended his decision to substitute his captain

"To say we are bitterly disappointed would be an understatement," the England boss added. "To get that close to a victory, which I believe would have been a deserved victory, and then to lose it with one minute of injury time remaining is a tough pill to swallow.

"But that's what happens in football. One doesn't have a divine right not to concede a goal at any stage of the game and it happens to be a very good goal from their point of view.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 11:  Eric Dier of England shows his dejetion after his team's 1-1 draw in the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B match between England and Rus
Image: England players look dejected after Russia's late equaliser

"That doesn't make the matter any easier for me to accept or to feel good about but it won't take us long to get over it.

"When we start our work to prepare for the next game I think there will be a lot of things from the game that we'll want to take forward and hopefully we'll be able to put the memory of this last minute goal behind us."

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