Is Wayne Rooney holding England back?

Is Wayne Rooney holding England back?
Sep 6, 2016


Rooney made his 116th cap for England in Sunday’s World Cup qualifying win against Slovakia at the weekend. Whilst that is an impressive achievement to have at any level, there’s a sense of false optimism floating about in the England camp regarding Rooney’s role in the team. Sam was put in charge of the England team to install the confidence back in the side, to solve the problems we have at major tournaments. But those problems were still clearly in the team after the Slovakia game. Yes It’s only his first game In charge, but the feeling with England fans was that It’s going to be another frustrating two years because before the game, Sam Allardyce said: “It’s not for me to say where he’s going to play.” meaning, Allardyce will let Rooney have a free role in the team and see’s the Manchester United captain as the man to drive the England team forward.

It seems as if Allardyce is falling into the trap other England managers have when it comes to favoring players, It’s clear to see that Rooney’s form has dipped dramatically over the years, even Manchester United fans are dumbfounded by Mourinho playing Rooney, albeit he’s in a more advanced role at club level compared to what position he was playing under Van Gaal. The problem you have giving Rooney all this freedom, Is that it complicates the game plan and you’re effectively trying to play through a midfielder who’s not a midfielder. It’s all well and good spraying the ball 30/40 yards here and there, but what does Rooney actually bring to this England side now?, He limits the striker’s opportunities, takes up a place of a player like Ross Barkley, who’s had a fantastic start to the season, who hasn’t been given a fair chance under England manager’s because both Roy and Sam continue to base the team around a declining player, and to me, It feels like they’re only playing Rooney because in their head It’s only a matter of time before he’s back to his best.

This management is part of the reason why we don’t do ourselves justice at the big tournaments, we pick players off of the club they play for and the name, rather than the form of the player. Tom Cleverly is a good example of this, whilst at Manchester United, he was getting picked for England on a regular basis but as soon as he moved to Everton, that all changed. When was the last time England played well? March 26th when England came from 2-0 down to beat Germany 3-2. Surprise surprise, Rooney didn’t play. Ok, it was only a friendly, but the football we played was outstanding, the pace on the counter, the link between midfield and attack was so easy on the eye. England carved open the world champions like a turkey but I can’t fathom to why Hodgson didn’t look at that game and tried to build off of it. But like every other manager, he put Rooney straight back in the team and that was the latest chapter of the continuous road of disappointment for the national team and It will continue to be a shambles if the manager and FA can’t identify the problem in the team.

Allardyce should be building a side that can compete in two years time, picking players like Barkley, like Rashford who you’d like to think, will have improved a fair bit by 2018. What good is building a team around players who most likely won’t be involved in the 2018 World Cup? second of all, England need to find a style of play that will suit all players. In my opinion, our squad is best suited to a 433 and play on the counter. It’s easy to dominate games against the likes of Slovakia, Wales, Iceland etc, but when we come up against the bigger teams such as Spain, Italy, Germany, we need to change the game plan. You can’t go into them games and try to dominate the game, It just won’t work. We need to adjust to working what’s best for our team. Why would you try and dominate possession with a midfield 3 of Rooney, Dier, and Henderson? that’s not their game. They’re players that want to move the ball up the pitch quickly. It’s early days in the Allardyce era, but judging by what he’s saying, It’s going to be another tedious tenure for the England fans.

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