Hodgson, who had Rooney suspended for two games at Euro 2012 and then had to watch an out-of-condition player labour through England's remaining two matches, is suddenly an excited man.
"'Wayne does take playing for England unbelievably seriously and the good thing for us is that I think that today I'm seeing the best of Wayne Rooney," said Hodgson after the San Marino match, which was effectively a glorified training exercise.
"In the earlier games that he could play for me, perhaps he wasn't at his best. I have to hope now he stays at his best, stays fit and healthy and continues to do what he's doing for Manchester United. That means he'll do it for us as well.
"'I don't think he was as sharp in the Euros and playing as well then as he is now, and I think he would be the first to say that. But, all the time I've been with him, in terms of his commitment and his desire and wanting to do the job, he's every bit the same man today as he was then. So I'm only really prepared to judge him on that.
"I'm not naïve. I do know what's happened in the past but I prefer personally not to think too much about that and judge him and our relationship since then, [rather] than back over four or five years."