DONETSK: England boss Roy Hodgson warned his Euro 2012 rivals that he is just 90 minutes away from unleashing striker Wayne Rooney.
Rooney, who lit up the Euro 2004 as a teenager, watched on from the sidelines as his teammates held France to a 1-1 draw in a Group D match on Monday.
The 26-year-old Manchester United striker now faces the last of his two-match ban when England Sweden on Friday.
And Hodgson admitted that although he was happy with the displays of Danny Welbeck and Jermaine Defoe during England's opening game against France, he is relishing the prospect of having Rooney back at his disposal.
"Welbeck was very good against France, wasn't he? I think he deserved to start the game." Hodgson told the Daily Mirror.
"But I like Andy Carroll, too. His performance in Oslo made a big impression on me and I wouldn't hesitate to play him, just as I wouldn't hesitate to play Defoe.
"And our real ace in the hole, I think, should be Rooney. He is very fit and he's raring to go. He really can't wait to get on the field.
"And if he can get on the field and can play like Wayne Rooney, then we're going to be a bit more difficult to beat for some of these teams. "You can only benefit from having someone of his quality in your team."
Captain Steven Gerrard admitted Rooney regrets the red card he received against Montenegro during the last of England's Euro 2012 qualifying matches and believes the striker can be the man to ensure England progress to the quarter-finals when he returns for the final group game against Ukraine on June 19.
"Rooney feels fine. He's frustrated at the fact that he can't play until the final group game and I know he's regretting doing what he did against Montenegro.
"But he's coping well and he's itching to get out there and play himself, to show what he can do for us.
"The fact is that any team would miss Wayne Rooney. He's a world-class player and he's been one of the best players in the Premier League last season.
"We're hoping we can be in with a good chance of qualifying when he comes back. He can be the difference for us in that third game to get us into the latter stages of this competition."