Wayne Rooney hails 'incredible' Townsend debut

Wayne Rooney (right) scored England's opening goal. Photo: PA

Wayne Rooney praised the bold approach of England boss Roy Hodgson following the 4-1 World Cup qualifying win over Montenegro at Wembley.

Manchester United striker Rooney netted his sixth goal in five qualifiers before a bizarre Branko Boskovic own goal, debutant Andros Townsend's stunning strike and a late Daniel Sturridge penalty secured the win.

Rooney, whose strike was his 37th England goal, enjoyed being part of an exciting attacking quartet with Townsend, Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.

"It was great," Rooney said. "It was exciting. A lot of speed and the experience of Steve (Gerrard) and Frank (Lampard) behind us.

"The manager gave us the freedom and the platform to go out and express ourselves."

Rooney reserved special praise for Townsend.

"It was some debut," he said.

"In such a high-pressure game to perform like that was incredible."

The United striker knew England might have to wait to take their opportunity in a must-win match which means victory over Poland on Tuesday night will secure a place at the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer.

"It was a tough game," Rooney said.

"I thought it was always a night when we were going to have to be patient and try to break them down.

"First half they defended deep, defended well. Getting the goal so early on in the second half was vital and I thought we fully deserved the three points.

"You saw a weight come off everyone's shoulders and we played some good stuff, created chances."