Must Roy Hodgson Start Rooney Against Ukraine?
From our perspective the debate has less to do with whether the England Manager must start Rooney, but rather which bunker he would retreat to if he chooses not to.
Hodgson has come forward and revealed that Wayne Rooney will likely get the nod next Tuesday versus Ukraine in what is a very important match. The decision is not quite so cut and dry like it appears to be, however. In the match versus Sweden yesterday, both forwards, Welbeck and Carroll, had very impressive goals. I won’t go so far as to say their overall games were at all impressive, but I concede each goal was world-class. Carroll’s header, as he towered over the defender, was perfectly timed and placed. Welbeck’s was more acrobatic, as he heeled a Walcott (What a nice substitution that was!) pass with his back to the goal. But are these two goals enough to dethrone Rooney from his perch at the head of the English attack? No.
Oftentimes in sports, when a player returns from injury there is an unwritten rule that he or she will earn their spot back. That said, there is always the hesitation of a manager to keep the line-up intact in instances that there has been success during the injured player’s hiatus. While Rooney was suspended, not injured, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the team have been good. Not spectacular, just “good”. Actually, “efficient” might be a better choice as they have executed two different game plans against quality opponents very well. The first, against France, was much more “defend and counter” than their more aggressive match versus Sweden. While they were sloppy holding the ball, they earned the three points.
“Against Ukraine, a player like Rooney can make a major difference and I am delighted to welcome him back. If I did leave him out, all hell might break loose in the dressing room!” ~ from the mouth of Roy Hodgson
Rooney will start on Tuesday, with very good reason – everyone wants him to. While admittedly I am not a big fan of his, I can appreciate what he brings to the pitch each week.
Rooney plays with fire and determination every time he steps on the pitch. While his hot-temper has landed him in hot water on several occasions (leads England in international competitions with two red cards), the spark he plays with is infectious. I don’t know how many United games I’ve watched where I have seen him in the attacking end of the field, only to see him track back all the way to his own goal. His relentless pursuit is admirable, and as a result he sets the bar very high.
The fact that he has been playing for England since he was 18 , he brings a lot of experience while still at the top of his game. Many players with as many caps as he has are much further along in years. But Rooney, still only 26, has the experience while still being considered England’s greatest player (open to debate on that, by the way – I’m not completely convinced). His presence on the pitch will bring confidence, particularly for the younger players. Above all else, Rooney demands his team mates match his intensity, which is easier said than done.
Finally, Wayne Rooney is unselfish. If you have watched him play at all, you will almost assuredly agree (unless you live on the other side of Manchester or in Liverpool) that he is a star player who does what he needs to do for the team.
Hoping to see Rooney dominate again on the pitch for England. I’ll sign-off today with a quote;
“We all know football players at the top level are blessed with high wages, it’s no secret. But Rooney would play for 100 euros-a-week. You can see the fire in his eyes. It’s that fire which makes him the best of the best.” ~ Lionel Messi
…until tomorrow, Lads.