United attacker misses critical qualifier with a head injury.
Ukraine wide man Yevhen Konoplyanka believes that England will struggle to get a result in Kiev on Tuesday without front man Wayne Rooney to lead the line, according to reports on ESPN.
Roy Hodgson’s side travel to the Ukrainian capital for a key Fifa World Cup Group H qualifier without the Manchester United striker, who suffered an horrific head injury in training with his club last Saturday.
And the Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk winger claims that the absence of the Red Devils star has given the home side a huge boost in confidence for a match Ukraine realistically need to take all three points from if they want to win the group and qualify automatically for next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
“We were unfortunate not to beat England in London, we should have won. We dominated for a lot of the game and it took a late penalty for them to draw with us in their own stadium,” said Konoplyanka, who has been capped 30 times by his country.
“They didn’t have Rooney that night and it is good news for us England won’t have him again. England are a different team when he plays. When he isn’t, you can see they are looking for inspiration from somebody else, but can’t find it.
“Every nation has their stand-out player, but I can’t think of any nation that are as reliant on one player as England are on Rooney.”
However, not only are the Three Lions going to be missing Rooney on Tuesday night for a game they dare not lose, but England must also make do without injured striking duo of Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll.
Meanwhile, as if to make matters worse for Hodgson and Co, Rooney’s in-form club-mate Danny Welbeck has now be ruled out of the crucial fixture after picking up his second yellow card of the qualifying campaign in England’s 4-0 win over Moldova at Wembley on Friday.