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Estonia 0, England 1: Rooney Goal Wins It with Sterling Rested

England get a goal from Wayne Rooney on a night that saw Raheem Sterling finally rested and England secure their third win of qualifying.

Shaun Botterill

Estonia 0
England 1: Rooney 73'

Liverpool still had two representatives in the England eleven despite the fact that Raheem Sterling was on the bench, with Adam Lallana coming in to join Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere, and Fabian Delph in England's midfield. Most of the pre-match focus was on Sterling anyway, however, as Roy Hodgson effectively nudged the 19-year-old down the steps by telling ITV that Sterling asked for the rest due to tiredness. Whether he did (which would be awesome) or didn't, he finally got the rest he needed until just after the hour mark, when he replaced Henderson. Rickie Lambert also came on in the 80th minute in place of Danny Welbeck.

With the win England are mostly in cruise control in Group E, and with Lithuania and Slovenia playing later today, they could be all alone on top to end the day. It hasn't entirely happened by default, but England's performance against Switzerland remains the only convincing one through their first three matches. It was no different today, and even though Hodgson's side emerged with the win, there was little inspiration available.

That which did arrive came in short bursts, some via the play of Lallana in an advanced role. He wasn't quite as good as he's been in Liverpool's last few matches, but the playmaker still found a few moments of magic going forward. None of he, Henderson, Sterling, or Lambert were overwhelming in their time on the pitch, though, something that's often the case for England under Hodgson.

The best news came at the final whistle, with all involved on the Liverpool end of things free from injury, and now all can return to Melwood to prepare for the trip to London to face QPR at the weekend.

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