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Is Wayne Rooney Really England's Best Player?

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Will this debate rest before we exit the World Cup? Something tells me this one is here to stay

Adam Pretty

I've read numerous articles about the future of Wayne Rooney and his place in the England side, but there was a comment from Phil Neville that really stuck out to me:

Former England full-back Phil Neville told BBC Radio 5 live he "couldn't believe" Rooney's place in the starting line-up was even being discussed.

"You go to a Brazil manager and say, 'are you going to leave Neymar out?'. Portugal - are they going to leave Ronaldo out? They would laugh in your face," Neville said. "We're talking about leaving our best player out.

"I think what you'll see in the next game is him play in his best position; either in the number 10 or up front on his own."

There are so many problems with this statement I can't even begin to fathom how anyone who watches football can come to this conclusion. Lets take a look at it phrase by phrase.

First of all he comments that he can't believe Rooney's place is in jeopardy. OK, why not? He has not scored in three World Cup finals for England, he doesn't fit the system we currently play and he is coming off a sub-par season for United who struggled to do anything within the league this year. It's not surprising to hear his place is under threat, and I have to believe Phil is basing his opinion on historical bias rather than current form.

Lets be honest with ourselves, if you are placing Wayne Rooney in the same company as Neymar and Ronaldo, you really are a fool, there is no other way to say it. Rooney was the hope for the future and while he has been useful in qualification, you have to go all the way back to 2004 to find the last time he impressed at a major tournament.

Up front on his own? the 17 goal Rooney being given preferential treatment by playing up top on his own at the expense of the 21 goal Sturridge who scored in our opener. Really? Who comes up with this stuff, what has Rooney done to make anyone believe he will do a better job up top by himself, and that he should start over Sturridge. Are we really going to move the confident goalscorer to the wing so we can keep the confidence devoid mis-firing striker from getting frustrated? No!

Roy needs to make the decision he gets paid millions to make. If Rooney can't play on the wing, which he really can't.....then you insert someone else. You can't move Sterling from the #10 role, he was too impressive and his pace will worry Uruguay. You can't move Sturridge from the central striking role because he is scoring goals and his pace will worry Uruguay. So you have no choice, you start with Lallana or Ox (If healthy) and you keep Wayne in the hope he can be an impact sub.