England midfielder Jack Wilshere believes that his team’s 3-2 win over Slovenia in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship atoned for their dreary draw against the Republic of Ireland.
Roy Hodgson’s men were roundly criticised after a dismal goalless stalemate with Ireland in a friendly in Dublin on their previous outing.
But they produced a stirring display in Ljubljana on Sunday, with Wilshere scoring his first international goals with a superb double and captain Wayne Rooney moving to within one goal of Bobby Charlton’s England scoring record of 49 by poaching a late winner.
“We wanted to answer for last week,” said Wilshere, whose side preserved their 100 percent record in Group E.
“We felt it wasn’t good enough and it wasn’t at the standards we set ourselves since the World Cup.
“We knew we could play at a higher intensity and that is normally when we are at our best: when we are pressing, winning the ball in high positions and we have got those sort of players who can do that.
“We have got players who can hurt teams as well, so we are happy today (Sunday).”
Wilshere said that Rooney’s 86th-minute strike, which came after he had squandered two gilt-edged chances, was “the sign of a world-class player”.
He also paid tribute to team-mates Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana for the roles they played in his second goal in the 73rd minute, a 20-yard rocket into the top-left corner at the culmination of a slick move down the right flank.
“The second one was a great team goal,” Wilshere told the Football Association website.
“It started at right-back with Henderson, he found Adam, and not many players have that ability that he has to see the run I was making.
“He put a lovely little flick out, it just sat up perfectly for me, I hit it sweetly, and thankfully it went in.”
England’s victory left them six points above Switzerland and nine points clear of third-place Slovenia in Group E, with the top two teams guaranteed to qualify for next year’s tournament in France.