World Cup Qualifying continues with Ukraine v England, Wales v Serbia, Austria v Ireland, Macedonia Scotland as Paddy Power release the latest betting odds a a new free bets offer on the games, plus read more about England, Brazil and Argentina World Cup odds here.
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19:30: Macedonia 5/4 Draw 23/10 Scotland 11/4
19:45: Wales 2/1, draw 11/5, Serbia 7/5
19:45: Austria 10/11, draw 12/5, Rep. Ireland 3/1
19:45: Ukraine 17/10, draw 21/10, England 9/5 with Paddy Power
The Three Lions are missing Wayne Rooney once again for their richly important must-not-lose clash in Ukraine, but the Manchester United’s absence is actually a big plus for the Three Lions and they should be backed to get a positive result in Kiev.
The hosts are 17/10 with Paddy Power to beat Roy Hodgson’s side, who best priced 19/10 with BetVictor.
An away win looks very plausible but taking the 19/20 with BetVictor on the draw no bet market, where you get your stake back if the game ends in a draw, looks the safest punt for the highly anticipated clash.
The absence of supposed star man Rooney on the England team sheet is automatically seen as a negative by most pundits, purists and punters. Regarded as England’s current world class player in his prime, Rooney is apparently an integral cog in Hodgson’s machine.
However, England are a far better side without Rooney within their ranks.
Sure, that view is very much opinionated and I have spent hours upon end arguing the case about just how overrated Rooney is. Some people see his credentials; however, to my eyes he’s just a very talented individual but is easily replaced on the international stage. Contrary to belief Rooney, despite all his charging tackles and highlights reel chasing back, is a hugely selfish player that makes England lose their shape as he feels he possesses the attributes to be their playmaker. He isn’t one to follow orders and England are a weaker unit, especially without possession, with Rooney in their ranks.
Remember Andre Pirlo’s majestic performance against England at the European Championships, where he dictated the play from deep? Well, Rooney was apparently tasked with closing him down in that game but never got the near the Italian as he was too busy moping and sulking around the pitch like a stroppy teenager as England were starved of possession.
Even with the ball, Rooney wants to be regarded as the luxury player who floats about the pitch, demanding every attacking move goes through him. Remember when a young Rooney burst onto the Premier League scene? He was aggressive with the ball, difficult to play against and had the ability to scare defenders with his fearsome dribbling. How things change. Gone are the direct dribbles of a dangerous destroyer.
The modern day Rooney sees him play the stereotypical number 10 role, without the same panache. His football brain and technical ability remain, but he is nowhere near as hard to play against compared to five years ago. His game doesn’t make him a luxury and having a hard working but limited James Milner in the side or more direct centre forward like Rickie Lambert makes England a more cohesive unit.
The statistical data also brings forward the case that England are a more successful side without Manchester United’s troublesome striker.
Since Rooney made his debut, England’s win percentage for the 83 matches he has played is 57% while without him England have recorded 28 victories from 41 matches, which tots up to a very healthy strike rate of 68%.
These matches Rooney has missed haven’t been your run of the mill matches against lower ranked sides in world football. England perhaps put on their best showing under Hodgson when beating Sweden 3-2 in the Euros when Rooney was suspended and they have also beat Spain, Italy and Belgium in friendlies when their supposed main-man was on the sidelines.
England even score more goals without him.
With Rooney in the side (not counting matches against whipping boys San Marino) England average 1.83 goals a game while when he is absent the Three Lions have notched 88 goals in 41 matches, averaging 2.14 goals per game.