Football

England must play Wayne Rooney upfront against Uruguay

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As England's “cup final” against Uruguay approaches the main point of discussion has been what role, if any, Wayne Rooney should perform for England.

If we ignore the rather ludicrous sideshow “drop Rooney” idea the debate falls squarely into two camps. Either play Rooney in the number 10 role behind a lone forward or play him out on the left as the inside forward/winger.

Neither proposition offers England the best chance of getting the all important three points against Uruguay.

If England were to play Rooney on the left then the same weaknesses that were apparent against Italy will again hand the opposition the advantage. In defence Leighton Baines will be left isolated and exposed. Both Cavani and Suarez will find it easy to exploit this frailty.

On the attack playing Rooney on the left is also far from ideal. Being stuck out on the flank reduces Rooney's effectiveness. He sees less of the ball than he wants and two interlinked trends emerge in his play.

Every time he gets the ball he tries to do something magical. He attempts shots from impossible angles. Whilst Rooney is capable of scoring these types of goals it is hardly a high percentage play that is likely to come off. Invariably the ball goes wide or tamely into the goalkeepers hands.

Giving Rooney the ball then becomes essentially an exercise in giving the ball back to the opposition. The other players realise this and he gets the ball even less. Of course what happens then is that Rooney becomes more and more frustrated and gets less effective. He also becomes liable to do something stupid and get sent off.

If Rooney isn't going to play on the left then commentators are calling for him to play in the number 10 role. Rooney however, is no longer the best option at number 10 for England.

Sterling's performance against Italy means that he should play in the central role. The youngster possesses better close control and speed than Rooney. These make him a real threat through the middle and lets not forget it is from a central attacking midfield role that Sterling's best club performances have been delivered.

If Rooney doesn't play either on the left or in the attacking midfield role than the logical choice is to play him as a forward in partnership with Daniel Sturridge.

Playing Rooney as an out-and-out forward in a 4-3-1-2 makes a lot of tactical sense for the Three Lions.

Firstly, the extra man in midfield will offer defensive support down the left hand side for Baines allowing him be more of an attack threat. Secondly, Gerrard will play a more central position that reduces the ground he has to cover and allows him to focus on delivering the ball quickly from back to front. Thirdly, freed from defensive duties and in a central role Rooney can focus on playing in and around the Uruguayan penalty box.

Finally, playing Rooney and Sturridge up front together will allow England to target the weak link in Uruguay's team centre half Diego Lugano. Whilst his defensive partner Diego Godin is a solid defender coming off the back of a strong season with Atletico Madrid the opposite is true for Lugano.

Released by West Brom after a poor Premier League season, the 33-year-old Lugano is out of form and dangerously lacking in pace. If England play two out and out strikers up front then they will be able to get either Sturridge or Rooney one on one with Lugano and that should at least give them plenty of good chances to score.

Playing Rooney upfront with Sturridge is the bold move England must make.

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
England Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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