England manager Roy Hodgson had named Wayne Rooney as his captain despite losing form at the beginning of the season. Now, should he be in the team or squad at all?
Many critics have called out that his best days have past and other strikers are overtaking him.
Despite this Hodgson has backed Rooney even at the 2014 Fifa World Cup when a similar debate had arisen, but this time the Manchester United striker is two years older and slower, while there’s stiffer competition for places. Yet, one can reason that Hodgson does need his experience.
There’s already Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck as alternative options. Vardy’s the inform player in England and so he’d make sense to start. Then Kane has impressed for the last two seasons ahead of Rooney, scored a good goal against Germany, thus further underlining his superiority. Kane seems to be the number choice now.
Sturridge is arguably better than the lot with his goal ratio and skill to create chances out of nothing. However the Liverpool’s striker major obstacle is his fitness levels and inability to push himself harder for two games a week. Sturridge has been extremely injury prone so the question mark is over whether he will be available. Welbeck was sold by Man Utd, so you’d assume he’s inferior to Rooney, but after returning from his own injury, the Arsenal striker has proven that he can be a greater threat.
You could even argue that Marcus Rashford is a worthy fifth choice thereafter, brilliantly replacing the injured Rooney at United. So, while pundits argue whether Rooney should start, it’s not outrageous to ponder whether Rooney should even make the squad at all. If he is never going to beat Vardy or Kane to the starting spot, then certain players are better off sitting at home, than sulking on the bench. A younger, vibrant squad could breathe fresh life into England’s tournament hopes.
Here’s what Hodgson told the media about the situation, once again underlining his stance to back Rooney:
“When he [Rooney] comes back and is fit again, he is going to be putting enormous pressure on these players. Just as these players have been putting enormous pressure on him,” he said.
“Vardy came on and did well, Kane was excellent throughout the game. I will enjoy that for the minute. I’m pretty sure when Wayne is fit again, and comes back, then we will assess the situation.”
“Wayne, I repeat, is our captain. He has captained the team extremely well these past two years,” he added.