Wayne Rooney is England’s captain and, despite being heavily outscored by both Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy in this season’s Premier League, the Manchester United forward seems certain to go to Euro 2016.
Roy Hodgson is a big fan of Rooney, but he was seemingly facing a tough task to incorporate him in his first XI.
Not any more!
With Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in hotter goal-form than Rooney at club level, United moved their skipper back into midfield in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with Everton.
And Rooney bossed it against his former club.
Playing in a three-man midfield, alongside Marouane Fellaini and just ahead of Michael Carrick, Rooney was superb.
He had four shots, made two dribbles, two tackles, an interception and a block, while completing 92.7% of his 55 passes, including two key passes.
Rooney has since hinted – via Sky Sports – that he is ready to be converted into a midfielder, expressing his happiness in the role.
This is great news for England.
Rooney has all the attributes to excel in midfield, even at international level. He is ultra-competitive and can tackle with sound technique and terrifying tenacity, while a deeper role increases the value of his passing range and long-distance shooting skills.
Furthermore, midfielders generally make more effective captains.
Hodgson was watching Rooney at Wembley on Saturday and he must have been tempted to replicate Louis van Gaal’s tactical plan for England’s all-time record goalscorer.
And why wouldn’t he be?
Eric Dier or – despite playing less than 10 minutes of senior football this season – Jack Wilshere are expected to anchor England’s midfield, behind Dele Alli. But the position in between is very much up for grabs.
And, with Jordan Henderson a fitness doubt for this summer’s European Championships, Rooney looks like a very good option.
Rooney accepting midfield role is the answer to Hodgson’s prayers. Here’s how Roy’s Boys should attack Euro 2016… pic.twitter.com/4BTnUhS3Xi
— Robert Summerscales (@robsummerscales) April 25, 2016