England's golden boy Wayne Rooney let down his country after he was kicked out against Montenegrin defender Miodrag Dzudovic in a European Championship qualifier in October. Rooney was given a red card by Wolfgang Stark and he was set to miss the first three Euro 2012 games. However the FA successfully appealed against it and the ban was ratified to two games.
Rooney seemed to change his attitude after the incident and he only received one yellow card throughout the Premier League season. What made it even more impressive was that it came in the final match of the season. The media jumped on this and started saying he's a changed man and he can win the European Championships of England.
However did Rooney make an impact for England against Ukraine?
Rooney started off a bit rusty and jaded after not playing for a considerable time. As the game went on he began to find his feet and linked up well with his Manchester United teammate Danny Welbeck. Although still misplacing paces, Rooney looked hungry and willing to work for a goal.
Unlike for Manchester United, he didn't control the game and we didn't see any of his typical cross field balls. Instead, it was Steven Gerrard that took the game by the scruff of the neck and started to play football. Rooney couldn't find any space up field and he found himself a bit enclosed, surrounded by Ukrainian defenders and Danny Welbeck.
He scored the only goal of the game when none other but Gerrard crossed the ball into a cramped six yard box. Rooney headed the ball in from two yards but one can't take anything away from a goal poacher. Cynics will say anyone could have scored that but to have the desire to get there after being out for so long should be credited to Rooney. But one has to take it with a pinch if salt.
Overall Rooney's impact was average. He scored the vital goal but it was Gerrard that pulled the strings and won man of the match. Throughout Euro 2012, Gerrard has arguably been England's best player and deserves to be congratulated by the fans. Obviously under Hodgson, England have been playing as a team and players such Scott Parker, Glen Johnson and Joleon Lescott have earned many plaudits.