The Wayne Rooney Conundrum
Ex-England captain Peter Shilton has expressed some disbelief over Wayne Rooney’s place in the England lineup as he said that Rooney should have retired from international football after Euro 2016, due in large part, to his ineffectiveness on the pitch for the Three Lions.
Peter Shilton said; "I don't think he's a striker anymore, we are trying to fit him in, but he's not a midfield player for me. Never will be."
There has been much debate about Rooney’s usefulness at both club and national level with his time as a centre-forward seemingly over due to his lack of pace and his inability to convert chances into goals.
His sudden switch from the attacking third to the middle of the park was more or less a move meant to prolong his career and keep him at the top level due to the fact that he was undergoing a massive decline as a centre-forward.
Naturally, Rooney was expected to retire from international football after the European Championships which took place in France. His unwillingness to do so has further ignited claims of him being unfit to take up a role in the England Squad, and the game against Slovakia was an obvious example of his ineffectiveness for The Three Lions.
Rooney was expected to be deployed as an attacking midfielder for England in a similar vein as his place in United’s line-up, but the game against Slovakia saw Rooney play in the heart of England’s midfield as a deep-lying playmaker.
Often times, he was unable to exert his influence on the game which in turn had an adverse effect on Harry Kane throughout the tie.
As part of his flurry of comments about Rooney, Shilton added: "He is spraying a few balls around, but I don't think he's being very effective.
Rooney’s inability to create chances and start off attacking moves left Kane isolated up front and limited England’s goalscoring chances.
Being a quality midfielder goes well beyond simply looking comfortable on the ball while making a few decent passes. A great midfielder should be able to make his presence felt on the pitch, something which Rooney has failed to achieve consistently.
Rooney’s place in the England squad can be questioned. It’s fair to say that he was called up due to his long-standing history with the national team rather than his ability as a midfielder.
Sam Allardyce has handed Rooney somewhat of a free role in the squad, following his recent admission of the skipper being able to play ”wherever he wanted”. But that only seems to be adding to the problems the national team has tried so hard to overcome in recent times.
England’s dilemma with Rooney is quite similar to what Manchester United is currently experiencing regarding his role in midfield.
Rooney isn’t a terrible midfield player, he’s just not an exceptional one and with the presence of better options, he shouldn’t be a mainstay at either club or international level.