England produced a game of two halves in their 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Montenegro in Podgorica tonight.
Wayne Rooney scored an early opener in the sixth minute to give Roy Hodgson’s side the lead in a commanding first-half performance which preceded a sloppy second 45 minutes.
The Manchester United striker netted his 35th international goal, and fourth in a row in qualifying, when he got on the end of Steven Gerrard’s corner to head home to banish his red card demons against Montenegro of 2011.
The first half was a showpiece of attacking football from England, whose goalkeeper Joe Hart had very little to do, but they came undone in the second term as Montenegro pressed for a leveller.
Hart was called on to twice make vital saves but the equaliser came when substitute Dejan Damjanovic forced the ball at the third attempt after having a header kept out and the initial follow-up blocked.
England responded to the goal and had a couple of late chances through Gerrard, the first a volley and the second a free-kick, but in the end they got the result they deserved.
The Three Lions now sit second on the Group H table on 12 points from six matches, two behind leaders Montenegro, and four clear of third and fourth-placed Poland and Ukraine.