Wednesday 23 August 2017 / 08:22 AM

Rooney’s Euros role uncertain

In case you missed it, England beat Germany 3-2 on Saturday night.

But, despite it being a friendly, this wasn’t any old victory.

If you were going to predict the outcome of a game between the strongest German side and the strongest English side, there’d only be one team tipped to win.

But they didn’t. Despite being the world champions, Germany not only lost to England, they also looked like a far more inferior side – which is bad news for Germany. But not just Germany; for Wayne Rooney, too.

When Steven Gerrard retired two years ago, there weren’t too many candidates who appeared to be of the calibre required to lead the England team, and consequently, perennial England bottler Wayne Rooney was given the role.

Now, at this point I’d just like to say that Wayne Rooney has clearly played well a number of times in an England shirt. That being said, not only is he no longer playing at the world-class level that he reached a few years ago, but he hasn’t performed in a major tournament for England for 12 years now.

The thing is, the striker’s no longer assured his position in the team. Not by a long chalk.

Rooney sat out Saturday’s fantastic win, and England looked a heck of a lot better for it.

Rather than an uninspiring, unfit and listless player bawling instructions from the striker position, England fielding a 22-year-old who finished with such verve and aplomb that you’d think he’d been playing for England for years.

That tyro was, of course, none other than Harry Kane. The Tottenham striker leads the Premier League scoring charts and is a key figure in the team currently second in the league.

If it’s a choice between Kane and Rooney, there really is only one winner – and it’s not England’s leading goalscorer.

If England are playing with one striker up top at this summer’s Euros, that striker must be Harry Kane.

 

Given Rooney’s experience, it is somewhat tempting to shoehorn him into the side elsewhere, with the left wing and the number ten position both mooted as possible alternatives to the centre forward role.

Trouble is, England possess better options there, too.

In truth, Roy Hodgson’s side have an embarrassment of riches outside, with Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling all capable of playing on the flanks; and that’s without even mentioning someone like Theo Walcott.

When it comes to the number ten position, Rooney faces more than stiff competition there as well.

Dele Alli played there against Germany, recording a man-of-the-match performance, while Ross Barkley has improved immeasurably this season, and is certain to put in a more dynamic performance than Rooney in that role.

In short, there’s no longer any place for Rooney in the side. By all means take him to France, but if Roy picks him ahead of any of the aforementioned youngsters, he’s got no one to blame but himself should the media vilify him following yet another early tournament exit.

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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