MARSEILLE — Wayne Rooney started what might be a new era in his lengthy England career with a deep-lying midfield role against Russia at Euro 2016.
Sitting back in the center of the pitch on Saturday, waiting for time and space to play a decisive pass, Rooney did the job he finished the English season performing at Manchester United in Louis van Gaal’s final months as manager.
One through ball in particular to Dele Alli could easily have resulted in a goal, and Rooney provided a calm, controlling presence in midfield in the 1-1 draw. Only a spectacular save by Russia’s Igor Akinfeev, who deflected a powerful shot onto the bar, prevented him from scoring.
England coach Roy Hodgson defended his decision to take his captain off for Jack Wilshere after Eric Dier’s 73rd-minute goal, rejecting suggestions it paved the way for Russia captain Vasily Berezutsky to head his team’s equalizer in stoppage time.
Hodgson said Rooney had “a good game” but had tired in the humid atmosphere.
“We just thought, with the control we have in the game and Jack Wilshere on the bench, that we could have the luxury of taking Wayne off the field and that Jack would do a similar job, and I think that’s exactly what happened,” Hodgson said.
“We didn’t honestly believe that we were in great difficulties during that period of time and we would see the game out at 1-0.”
With England’s forward trio of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana making little impact, the pressure was on the midfield to shine, with Rooney spraying passes, Alli making incisive runs and Dier scoring from a free kick.
Making his 112th appearance at the age of 30, Rooney was often allowed time on the ball by an ineffective Russian midfield, in which Alexander Golovin and Roman Neustaedter were both making their competitive international debuts.
He may not be so fortunate in England’s next game in Group B, against Wales on June 16.
NAC aims to bring more tourists
KATHMANDU — Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier which bought two wide-body aircrafts — is exploring new destinations in Europe, North America and South East Asia to bring in more tourists to the country.
The NAC, with the new destinations, expects to increase its business and carry 400,000 tourists on board the NAC planes to Nepal every year.
The NAC’s move is expected to serve largely for the government’s announcement to mark 2020 as Nepal Visit Year.
The NAC is also planning to procure narrow-body planes that would make regional flights while the wide-body planes would fly to the new international destinations.
For the new destinations, the NAC has appointed issue manager.
With the agreement, the NAC planes would make flights to 14 destinations in a week. If things go as planned, the NAC planes would fly to Narita and Tokyo in Japan, easing the tourists visiting Nepal from there.
After getting approval from Japan and South Korea for flights, the inclusion in the significant safety concern list by the EU to Nepal would remove automatically while the flights to South Korea shall open up the golden door for Nepal Airlines.
South Korea is regarded as the safest country in the world in terms of civil aviation. Likewise, the ICAO has already removed Nepal from its blacklist.
Furthermore, the NAC is preparing to operate flights to bring in tourists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Similarly, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has directed the NAC for announcing new business plans by targeting the Indian and Chinese tourists, realizing the crucial role of the national flag carrier to make the Nepal Visit Year 2020 a success.
“Top priority has been given to the NAC as it is the major basis to bring in tourists,” Minister Adhikari shared.
Likewise, Minister Adhikari shared that expansion of services and facilities of the Tribhuvan International Airport has been prioritized.Follow @gorkhapost