Rooney: “My lad asked me to get an England kit with Vardy on the back!”
For the first time in many years England have a bit of a striker dilemma. Wayne Rooney, England’s record goal scorer and captain, has been struggling with injury and has missed both of England’s friendlies during this international break. During those few days, heated arguments amongst soccer’s top pundits have arose concerning his role this summer in Euro 2016.
The 29 year-old Jamie Vardy has taken the Premier League by storm this year, heading the attack for league leaders Leicester City. Furthermore, young Harry Kane has been the most consistent and dominant striker in England over the past two years with an incredible 42 goals and 6 assists in 65 league appearances.
In England’s matches against Germany and Netherlands, Harry Kane was outstanding along with Tottenham teammate 19 year-old Dele Alli. Jamie Vardy’s hustle terrorized the defenses as well, and the three players each netted a goal in Engand’s outstanding comeback against Germany. Vardy also slid one past Netherlands, but it wasn’t enough for England as they lost 2-1 on the night. Rooney’s absence has gone hardly noticed despite him being England’s leading scorer in the Euro Qualifiers. So, what role, if any, will Rooney play this summer?
Harry Kane is undoubtedly England’s first choice center forward. England manager Roy Hodgson is likely to go with the usual 4-4-2, so Rooney could play up top with Harry Kane or at the tip of the midfield as the number 10 role. It’s difficult to see Rooney out wide as he would be in direct competition there as well with Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, and Theo Walcott. Dele Alli and Ross Barkley, key players in the future of the England national team, could feature in the number 10 role as well.
Without a doubt, Hodgson is less reliant on Rooney, who has netted 59 goals in 109 appearances for his country. While it is important to remember he has scored more goals than any other Englishman and was England’s top-scorer in qualifying, Hodgson must look at where England are at now and where they are heading. While it is generally agreed Rooney should be a part of this summer’s squad, many have suggested keeping him on the bench for at least the opening game against Russia on June 11th. Kane and Vardy are looking to prove themselves on the international level and are in incredible form heading into the summer. Kane has 12 goals this calendar year and Vardy has 8 in the same time. Nonetheless, despite a dismal 2015 for Rooney, he has started 2016 with 10 goals. His recent injury problems though will undoubtedly be in the back of Roy Hodgson’s mind.
Against Germany, England played a high press game similar to that of Leicester and Tottenham this season. One thing that is certain is that England would not have been able to play this constant high energy style with Rooney in the starting lineup.
This summer, I believe Rooney will still be crucial to Hodgson, especially if England advance past the group stage. His experience and commitment to England is unrivaled, and he deserves loyalty from his manager for his consistently high performances over the past decade. Euro 2016 will be Rooney’s last major tournament for England, but the question is whether we will see him watching from the bench or continuing to lead England as captain.
Football, ITV. “Rooney: My Lad Asked Me to Get an England Kit with Vardy on the Back!.” Twitter. Twitter, 29 Mar. 2016. Web. 02 Apr. 2016. <https://twitter.com/itvfootball/status/714886729077895169>.
Mirror Football. “Should Wayne Rooney start for England at Euro 2016?.” Mirror. N.p., 30 Mar. http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/should-wayne-rooney-start-england-7654555