Wayne Rooney could be left out of England team to face Italy
Manchester United striker is out-of-form and could be replaced by Raheem Sterling as Roy Hodgson looks for a pacey attack against the Azzurri
June 2nd, 2014
Wayne Rooney was the first name on the England team-sheet twelve months ago, although it appears that Roy Hodgson might be ready to drop the 28-year-old for the Three Lions’ opener against Italy on 14 June.
Rooney didn’t make much of an impact against Peru on Friday night and it appears that Daniel Sturridge offers a greater goal threat right now, while the pace of Raheem Sterling and Danny Welbeck could see the manager operate with this pair on either side of the Liverpool striker.
Many will be shocked by Rooney being left out in Manaus, although the Manchester United forward has had an injury-hit season at Old Trafford, despite managing to hit 21 goals in all competitions including a brace against Norwich City in his last match of the domestic season.
Hodgson feels it is unfair to pin the hopes of a nation on Rooney although many England fans would prefer to see a lightning quick attack and one thing that the United forward doesn’t have is a lot of pace.
“I think it’s a bit sad that the country is so Wayne Rooney-obsessed,” Hodgson said.
“I don’t think Wayne sets himself up to be anything other than a very important member of the squad who tries his best at all times.
“We work as a team but certainly we don’t have the same obsession with Wayne, or Daniel Sturridge.
“It’s a little bit infuriating to see players who have come on in the last 10 or 15 minutes of a game when it’s over and there are loads of spaces and the opposition are on their knees compared to players who are on the pitch when opponents are very fit and determined to keep you at bay, throwing themselves into challenges.”
The bookies are taking no chances with their odds about Rooney starting v Italy, although some impressive performances from Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley against Ecuador in Miami could see them force their way into the reckoning.