After Wayne Rooney stars in a deep-lying midfield role in England’s stuttering victory over 10-men Slovakia Lee Davy shares his opinion on why both Jose Mourinho and Sam Allardyce need to drop him if they are to find success.
Wayne Rooney was capped for the 116th time in his country’s 1-0 win over Slovakia last night, and only Peter Shilton has played more (125). He is the all-time England goalscorer with 53, a record that will stand long after I am pushing up daisies.
He has scored 246 goals in 524 appearances for United, three goals behind the record held for so long by Sir Bobby Charlton. It’s a record that Rooney will break by the end of the season. His 178 goals in the Premier League, for United, is also a record for the most scored at a single Premier League club.
Wayne Rooney has scored so many goals because he is a great striker. He hasn’t played in that role for United for many seasons, and everyone could see that he was not going to maintain that berth with England after the form of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy towards the end of last season.
But Rooney is the captain of United and England and that creates a headache for both managers.
How do you drop your captain?
I ask that question because I believe if United want to win the Premier League they can’t do it with Rooney playing in midfield. If England wants to perform well in Russia in two years time, they cannot do it with Rooney playing in midfield.
Sam Allardyce was starting his first game in charge of England with the electrifying Dele Alli on the bench, and a central midfield trio of Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, and Wayne Rooney. Can someone please tell me why Rooney chose to play deeper than his two defensive minded colleagues because after reading press reports it wasn’t a tactical plan doled out by Big Sam.
England mustered their first shot on goal in the 65th minute. They played the final 30-minutes against 10-men after the idiotic Martin Skrtel walked off smiling after his second bookable offence, and yet Rooney dropped deeper and deeper. Towards the end of the game, John Stones was in a more advanced position that Rooney.
When Alli came off the bench, the team moved forward, with the Spurs midfielder driving them that way with his active, energetic runs. I remember when David Beckham dropped into a deeper lying midfield role for England. We called it the ‘Quarterback’ position and Beckham ran the game. Rooney hasn’t got the game to do that.
I think the saddest thing about Rooney’s choice in central midfield are the people who miss out because of his inclusion. How can you leave a young kid with the talents of Marcus Rashford with the U21’s? How can you leave Dele Alli on the bench? I would even prefer the industry of Danny Drinkwater. And at United, you have the likes of Henry Mkhitaryan sitting on the bench while Rooney wanders around Old Trafford like a ghost.
Back to England and Adam Lallana scored the winner with the last kick of the game. I would usually write something about ‘sparing England’s blushes’ but I can’t after the Iceland debacle. England will qualify for Russia because their group is full of non-entities, but if they want to enter that tournament with a team that can get out of the group stages, then Allardyce needs to drop Wayne Rooney, and soon.
How will that happen?
Jose Mourinho will make it happen.
As Rooney’s influence on his United side greatly diminishes, Mourinho will have no choice but to leave him out of the side, making Allardyce’s job that much easier.
Leaving Rooney out of any lineup is a tough decision. Like I said earlier he is a living legend. But winners make the tough choices. Perhaps that’s why England will never win anything.
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