England captain Wayne Rooney says Roy Hodgson’s crop of young players are more exciting than Sven-Goran Eriksson’s ‘golden generation’.
Midfielders Dele Alli, 19 and Ross Barkley, 22, and defenders John Stones, 21, and Eric Dier 22, are pushing for places in England’s Euro 2016 squad.
The 30-year-old was part of Eriksson’s Euro 2004 squad, which included David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ashley Cole.
“It’s an exciting team,” Rooney told Football Focus about Hodgson’s squad.
“I think it’s the most exciting squad I’ve ever been involved with, if I’m honest.”
England came from 2-0 down to beat world champions Germany 3-2 in a friendly in Berlin on 26 March.
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy scored his first England goal after coming on as a substitute, while Tottenham forward Harry Kane and club-mate Dier also netted.
“There’s a lot of excitement, not just from the fans but the players as well,” added Rooney, England’s record goalscorer with 51 goals in 109 caps.
Rooney was at Euro 2004 with England’s so-called ‘golden generation’ of Frank Lampard, John Terry, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Gary Neville, Scholes, Beckham and Cole. The team reached the quarter-finals in Portugal.
He is impressed with the way Hodgson has quickly rebuilt the squad since Gerrard,Lampard and Cole announced their international retirements.
“We knew we were going to have to rebuild,” Rooney said.
“I remember two years ago a lot of pressure on why there’s not so many good young English players coming through.
“I remember sitting down with Roy Hodgson, saying: ‘Look at these players coming through, how can people say that?’
“And now that’s starting to prove itself right.”
You can listen to the full interview with Wayne Rooney on Football Focus on Saturday at 12:10 BST on BBC One.
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