The always controversial England and Manchester United captain, Wayne Rooney, has been the target of many reports and articles suggesting that he should not start in the upcoming European Championships. However, are these suggestions really justified?
Well, Rooney hasn't had the greatest season of his career, everyone would probably agree with that. Long spells out with injuries and a deeper role in the Manchester United squad has meant his goalscoring record for this season isn't too spectacular, currently on 14 goals and five assists in all competitions.
Despite this, to deny him a starting place at the Euros is frankly ridiculous.
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Let's look at what this man has done just this season; he levelled Cesc Fabregas as joint third on the all-time Premier League assists record, he broke Thierry Henry's record for the most goals scored at one club in the league, he overtook Dennis Law to claim second place in Manchester United's all-time top goal-scorers and, of course, at the very beginning of the season, he became England's all-time top goal-scorer.
These aren't the statistics of a man that has lost his class, you know what they say, "Form is temporary, but class is permanent."
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Whoever came up with that clever little line must know what they are talking about and it is exactly what is occurring this season, people are rating form, much higher than class. Jamie Vardy has had a terrific season, breaking records of his own, winning the league with Leicester City and has become a hero in many people's eyes.
Whilst this is true, how long will his form last? Will it even be present when Vardy is called upon to be England's main man in France? These are questions we do not know the answers to and won't until he is on the pitch and ready to play.
The same goes for Tottenham Hotspur hit-man, Harry Kane. He is yet to play in a major tournament for the national team, as is his compatriot Jamie Vardy. The pressure the country will be putting on these two players will be astronomical and pressure of this level has not been put on their shoulders during their short careers so far.
This isn't trying to say the aforementioned players should not start in the line-up, they certainly have earned their place on the team-sheet, however, the point being made is that there is room for Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to all play in their respective positions.
We all know Rooney can play slightly behind the strikers, he has executed that No.10 role brilliantly in his career, at one point being the best in the world at it people would argue.
With Roy Hodson playing a diamond formation, positioning Rooney in the attacking midfield role, the squad could start looking pretty intimidating. Vardy and Kane playing just ahead of the England skipper will mean Vardy can use his pace to make the runs in behind the defence, which Rooney can supply the passes for, whilst Kane drops a little shorter to complement each other perfectly. Rooney's position on the pitch will mean he is in the perfect place to thread passes, go for goal and track back when necessary.
At the end of it all, England do not have a world-class attacking midfielder in their ranks. Ross Barkley is a great player and many believe he will one day be England's go-to man, but at the moment, he isn't quite there yet so to speak. When one flips it around and takes Rooney out of the starting line-up completely, well that's when England will be finding themselves lost amongst a team of no leaders.
People have always had a problem with Wayne Rooney, whether it's his controversial attitude, jealously or the club he plays for, there is always someone on Rooney's back when he doesn't play the perfect game. The man has talent people would plead for, yet, our own country, who should be supporting him, constantly put him down.
Well then, maybe Rooney shouldn't start at the Euros, maybe he shouldn't even be in the squad, maybe we will see the gaping hole missing in the team when he is gone and just maybe, take my word for it, all of his doubters come the end of the tournament will be saying "They should have played Wayne Rooney from the start."
Should Roy Hodgson start Wayne Rooney at the Euros? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!