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Rumour: Rooney to Move Inside, with Sterling out Wide. The Right Call?

There are plenty of reports suggesting that Rooney will be handed his favoured number ten role. Is this the right decision?

Clive Rose

The story featured in the national media today suggests that Rooney will be handed the number ten role on Thursday in the match vs Uruguay with Raheem Sterling pushed out wide.  There are mixed emotions about this decision.  Whilst Rooney's recent performance have been the focus of national scrutiny if we're being realistic, it's highly unlikely that Roy Hodgson will drop Rooney and it would be a huge call if he did.  Therefore, a decision to give Rooney a position where he has the chance to be effective makes sense.  However, Raheem Sterling was sublime in the last match vs Italy, so why not allow him to continue where he left off?

Anyone who has consistently watched the Premier League in the last few years will understand that Rooney is at his best playing in a central role.  Nevertheless, I'm wholly unconvinced that a minor changing of position will prove a magic potion that suddenly reminds Wayne Rooney he's actually a decent footballer.  For instance, whilst it's true that Rooney struggled to impact the game out wide, did the fact that he was playing on the left affect the woeful mess he made of England's best chance to find an equaliser vs Italy? Did it make his foot go numb when he blasted that shocking corner straight into the crowd? The answer on both counts is a resounding no.  Moving Sterling out wide might represent an example of replicating mistakes England have made in the past, attempting to cram quality into a side that might be better served to play a different player.  Thinking back to Sven's time in charge of England, he arguably made the error of trying to cram Scholes, Lampard, Gerrard and Beckham into one team, when playing another wide man would have given the team a better shape.

A look at other nations highlights this issue.  There are several teams who, on paper, have a significant lack of quality players in comparison to England, yet they have a much better team. So should the team dynamic be disrupted solely to fit Rooney in? I'm not convinced.

Rooney has also once again seen fit to speak out. Rooney's comments on Facebook reeked of desperation, he stated:

'Sometimes wonder what the press are getting at.

 I said from the start I want to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready for these World Cup games and as part of that I was doing extra training a week before the squad joined up.

 That’s exactly what I did yesterday, my own extra training because that’s what I wanted to do.'

Maybe the media are getting at the fact that you've been very poor lately Wayne, and earn huge money whilst you're at it? The need to justify that he is also doing 'extra training' comes across as extremely desperate and a man who, in current form, cannot do his talking on the pitch. There is certainly a lot of attention on Rooney, but as England's chief current underperformer it's sadly what happens, although I'd rather take criticism on 300 grand a week than not!

Considering how superb Sterling played centrally there's little chance I'd move him, but that's just my opinion. One thing is for sure though, Rooney shouldn't play another game on the left, which is a role that Sterling is good at. Maybe a switch is therefore justified. What do you think? Have your say in the poll and comments below.

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