England manager Roy Hodgson admits Montenegro may try to wind up Wayne Rooney as he urged his team to "be ready tactically, technically and mentally" for the next Tuesday's FIFA World Cup™ qualifier in Podgorica.
Rooney was sent off for kicking out at Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in the same city 17 months ago in a game which ended 2-2.
He was banned for the opening two games of Euro 2012 against France and Sweden after initially being handed a three-match suspension. Hodgson has no fears about the Manchester United player repeating his petulant behaviour when the sides meet again a week on Tuesday.
But his message to all of the squad will be to remain focused on a match which is crucial to England's hopes of reaching the 2014 finals in Brazil. Asked if Montenegro may try to provoke Rooney, Hodgson replied: "You might be right, but they are the type of things players need to come to terms with and be prepared for.
"All the players will be made aware that we are playing away against an important rival for the top spot in the group. They have to be ready to play the game, tactically, technically and mentally."
Hodgson added: "Wayne doesn't seem to have been affected in any game we have played by opponents. His disciplinary record is good with us and he has not let me down, and I've got no reason to doubt him.
"Wayne made a mistake, he has held his hand up and publicly admitted it was a mistake what he did. He paid a high price for it because he missed two Euro 2012 games. He won't need me to remind him because it will be fresh in his memory because you don't forget being sent off."
England will confront an intimidating atmosphere in Podgorica but Hodgson knows his players have to cope with such tests if they are to be successful. He said: "I think it will be intimidating. A lot of those former Yugoslav countries are very passionate. They have fantastic support and as the away team, they let you know you are the away team.
"But you have got to learn to deal with those things. If ever we are going to do anything worthwhile at the international level, we've got to be capable of playing in atmospheres which are not in our favour. I have no reason to think there will be any problems there. The only things you can accuse the Montenegrins of is feverishly supporting their team and that is not a crime. We will talk about it, we will be ready for it. That will be part of our preparations, to make certain mentally we've got some idea of what we are going into."
England take on San Marino Friday
Hodgson will stress that his players first of all put in a professional performance to dispose of minnows San Marino on Friday before facing Montenegro. He acknowledges the similarities between England's rugby union team struggling to overcome outsiders Italy before the Grand Slam decider against Wales in Cardiff earlier today.
Hodgson said: "That's a good point. It will be something that we will be preaching, that before we even think about Montenegro we've got a game to win against San Marino. To be frank, I don't fear the game in the sense that I think we could lose it.
"I'm confident with the players we have that we can go out and win that game. But it is important that the players get their heads on and win that one first. It's a big mistake to look beyond if that's what happened (with the England rugby union side). But I'm sure, knowing Stuart Lancaster (England coach) as I do, that wouldn't have been the message he was preaching."