Joe Hart
No focus on Wales star Bale, says England captain Rooney
Joe Hart

No focus on Wales star Bale, says England captain Rooney

Published Jun. 12, 2016 7:12 a.m. ET

Wayne Rooney insists England will not focus on Gareth Bale's threat when they look to bounce back in Euro 2016 against Wales on Thursday.

England were stunned by a late equalizer by Russia in Marseille in their opening Group B match. Center-back Gary Cahill called the 1-1 result "a kick in the teeth".

A young England side looked to be heading for victory at the Stade Velodrome when Tottenham's Eric Dier beat Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev with a superb 25-yard free kick.

But three minutes from the final whistle, Russia captain Igor Berezutski stunned the stadium when he rose above the England defence to send a looping header over goalkeeper Joe Hart.


Two years after their first-round exit from the 2014 World Cup, England will now have to bounce back against a Welsh side that beat Slovakia 2-1 earlier in the day.

Real Madrid star Bale also scored a stunning strike in the win. Fresh from helping the Spanish giants to Champions League victory, he is expected to be the danger man when the sides meet in Lens.

Manchester United veteran Rooney labeled Bale as "one of the top five players" in the world, but said England will not concentrate on the Welsh winger.

Hal Robson-Kanu scored Wales' winning goal in their 2-1 victory over Slovakia.

"We have to stop other players, you can't just focus on Gareth Bale. We're not going to double team him," said Rooney.

"We have to just think about the next game, and playing the same way we did tonight, on Thursday."

Man-of-the-match Dier admitted watching David Beckham over the years had inspired him to perfect his dead ball technique.

"Obviously he was one of the best at it," said Dier. "I've seen lots of his free kicks and it's something I like doing and have practiced a lot."

Center-back Cahill said he believed England can bounce back against Wales and Slovakia.

"I can't help thinking we should all be celebrating victory but we got a kick in the teeth at the end which has made the mood after not great," said the Chelsea defender.

"We wanted to get off to a winning start but if we bring that level of confidence and performance in the next two games, we'll be fine."



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