After Wayne Rooney’s phenomenal midfield performance during Manchester United’s 3-1 win on Boxing day, could the England international have found his new position?
Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney put on a masterful display from midfield against Newcastle United on Boxing day, with the talismanic star involved in all three of his side’s goals.
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He dictated play, both started and prevented attacks, and was regularly involved further up the field. He was unquestionably the Man of the Match, scoring twice and turning provider for Robin van Persie.
There has been much debate over where Rooney should play for England, with the former Everton man regularly failing to produce for his country. A player of his undeniable quality is difficult to leave out, but crowbarring him into the team can also have adverse effects.
England’s future strike force is currently looking fairly promising, with the likes of Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge performing superbly for their countries. And with Saido Berahino, Harry Kane, and Charlie Austin all staking their claim for an international spot with their performances in the Premier League this season, Roy Hodgson will have a plethora of options to choose from.
Pushing Rooney deeper into midfield means being able to utilise more than one of these promising young forwards at a time, with Welbeck and Sturridge able to perform as Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao did against Newcastle.
With Rooney also able to do the dirty side of the midfield job, a lightweight No.10 could still be utilised on the international stage. Manchester United played without an out and out destroyer in midfield, but the combination of Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney worked perfectly.
There are even arguments for England to use the very same formation that Louis van Gaal deployed against Newcastle, with wing-backs an excellent way to give the required width.
Despite being used mostly at right-back, players like John Stones and Calum Chambers look far more suited to a back three. Burgeoning talents like Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne would also be more effective when given the freedom of the wing-back role.
A role in midfield for Rooney could revolutionise an England side that has become stale in recent years, and could see Hodgson getting the best out of a number of other underutilised stars.