Sometimes players are just too big to drop, or it takes a brave manager to drop them. That seems to be the case with England captain Wayne Rooney.
The United forward started in a midfielder role in the Three Lions 2-0 home win over Malta on Saturday.
It was the seventh game that Rooney has started in midfielder for his country. Against poor opposition, he enjoyed a decent game.
However, a decent Championship midfielder probably would have had a good game against the Malta midfield.
Shoehorned into the team
Wayne Rooney is the captain and England’s leading goalscorer, but is that enough to guarantee him a starting role for his national side? It should not be. England selection should be based on club form.
At the moment he is sitting on the Manchester United bench at club level. The reason for his demotion is that Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho is not scared to take big decisions.
Interim England boss Gareth Southgate was never going to drop Rooney. Southgate is not going to rock the boat in his four-game trial period as boss. The interim boss defended Rooney after some England fans booed the United star during the Malta game.
For now, Southgate has to back his high-profile captain and shoehorn Rooney into the team, just like a number of former England bosses have. On current form, he should definitely not be in the starting line-up for the national team. Some would argue he may struggle to make the squad.
It seems that England bosses feel they have to get Wayne Rooney into the England team somehow, in any possible position.
He has been a very good player for England
Rooney has been a very good player for England. He has always tried his best and worked hard for the national team. Expectations of the forward were always slightly unrealistic because of the way he burst onto the football scene.
He broke into the England squad at very young age and made his Premier League debut at 16 years of age. Maybe time is catching up to Rooney. He is 31 later this month and has been playing top-level football for nearly a decade-and-a-half.
Rooney’s degeneration is only nature taking its course after so many years of physical exertion. Some players decline does not come until their mid-thirties. However, Wayne Rooney may not be as fit as those other players. Those players also may not have been at such a tough level for such a long time.
Personality-wise, Wayne Rooney is reportedly a good guy to have in the dressing room. However, despite his decent displays in the past for England, his career is now in decline.
Quite often players carry on playing for England when they should have retired and it becomes painful to watch. I just hope an England boss in the near future has the bottle and the foresight to drop Wayne Rooney.
Rooney will be playing against Slovenia
In truth, I am using Wayne Rooney as an example of how players should be picked on form for the national team. However, that applies to any player really, not just the England captain.
If a player is not playing regularly for his club he should not be included in the England starting line-up simple as that. I doubt many so-called ‘big’ football nations would just shoehorn a player into the team just because of reputation.
Maybe that is part England’s struggles at international level. Such is Rooney’s reputation he will be playing in Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia, a game England are odds of 4/6 to win.
I have a feeling that if England does win that clash then it will be in spite of Rooney’s presence and not because of it. A lot of England fans seem to take their feelings for Wayne Rooney to a personal level, which is not right.
I cannot say I dislike the United forward as a person as I do not know him personally. However, I can see that his presence on the pitch is no longer helping the England team, which seems to have missed the attention of the last three England bosses.
Should Wayne Rooney still start for England?