Jun 17, 2014

    Play Rooney in No. 10 position or not at all

    IF WAYNE Rooney does not play in the No. 10 position behind Daniel Sturridge in England's next World Cup game against Uruguay on Thursday, then I would not play him at all.

    I definitely would not pick Rooney for the left or right of midfield, which is where he played in England's defeat by Italy in their opening game in Group D on Saturday.

    Yes, he made Sturridge's goal and he did his best for the team, but being wide is not his best position. England have got other players who are more effective there.

    The question I would ask England manager Roy Hodgson: Is Wayne a left- or right-sided midfielder? And the answer is no.

    So, what to do with Rooney is now Hodgson's big dilemma at this World Cup. Hodgson has a decision to make.

    Because of how well they played against Italy, Raheem Sterling and Sturridge have to start against Uruguay in a game England need to win. You cannot leave either of them out.

    Sterling excelled in that No. 10 role, but that does not mean there is no place for Rooney.

    I would have him behind Sturridge, where he has proved himself time and time again, and move Sterling to the right, where he plays for Liverpool the vast majority of the time.

    Either play Rooney off the striker, or do not play him at all.

    Hodgson felt Rooney played well on Saturday night, when he was on the left in the first half. If that was the case, why did he swop him over to the right for the second half?

    Rooney was unhappy and uncomfortable out there, and I understand why. We should not be playing our top goal scorer out of position. Put him where he can do some damage.

    He has got 39 goals for England and is only 10 off Bobby Charlton's record.

    At the age of 28, he could and probably should go on and break it - but he won't if he is playing out of position.

    Hodgson has done what most people - including me - had asked for by playing Sterling and Sturridge together.

    Now he needs to resolve the Rooney issue and get the best out of England's best player, too.