The media waxed lyrical about Wayne Rooney’s performance against Russia but in reality it seemed to be a gross exaggeration of the captain’s abilities. Long has Rooney been highly regarded by the England faithful and media, who often fail to criticize his poor performances which are masked by a lot of goals in friendlies and qualification fixtures. In big tournaments England hasn’t produced a good performance since back in 2004, which is seriously concerning.
Now Online Sportsbook organizations will probably have him continuing to feature, which makes sense as he is the captain, but in reality it’s time for him to go. In the opinion of this author he shouldn’t even have been on the plane in the first place following significantly poor form over the last few seasons for Manchester United where he has began to look tired, slow and out of place.
Rooney’s main issue is that he doesn’t really have a position anymore. He doesn’t score enough to play as a forward and he isn’t really a midfielder. Against Russia he gave the ball away a few times in dangerous areas and whilst he did play some decent passes at times this is the bare minimum you’d expect from a midfielder. It was nothing special and it didn’t warrant praise or further selection. His passing stats weren’t great at all. 85% pass completion may sound good but a top midfielder would expect to have over 90% per game. Further to this his 55 passes doesn’t imply a great level of involvement in the fixture either. Only 5 of his 9 long balls were accurate so it’s hardly as if he was sparying it around in the most commanding of fashions.
The press and fans grossly exaggerated the performance of Rooney against Russia. England would be wise to leave him out against Wales given that he creates a tactical connundrum because of his less than obvious position. His midfield role stunts the ability of Dele Alli to get forward and creates an imbalance in the middle of the pitch. Rooney’s defensive contribution was also shocking with just 1 interception, 2 clerances and no tackles. THis is hardly a commanding, combative display from the captain. Far from it.
The alternative is just to play a more balanced midfield with three natural midfield players and allow Alli to go forward without the fear of leaving gaps, as Rooney undoubtedly does not plug gaps given his tactical indiscipline. This would be a far better way to operate than the current system proposed by Hodgson.