In the build up to a major international tournament, it’s important to keep everything safe.
From things such as players’ passports, to equipment, kit and tactics. Especially tactics, the strategy that the coach has spent a couple of years trying to perfect.
So quite what England coach Ray Lewington was doing clearly showing the potential line-up for the European Championship opener as he wondered back to the team hotel is a mystery.
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Roy Hodgson’s assist was snapped by a photographer clutching a piece of paper which appears to show England planning to use Wayne Rooney in centre-midfield of a Christmas-tree formation in Saturday’s game against Russia.
The Sun carried the leak on its back page with a zoomed-in image of the team. No defenders are shown, but Eric Dier’s name can clearly be seen at the base of the midfield.
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Ahead of him, it appears that Rooney and Jack Wilshere will compete for the left centre-midfield position while Dele Alli or James Milner will start at right centre-midfield.
On the wings, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley could play on the respective left and right sides, with Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy spearheading the attack.
This is our interpretation of the image. You can make your own mind up. It does also include the name ‘Ray’ towards the top, so perhaps this is just the team Lewington wants to see on Saturday.
Rooney in midfield
Yet it’s still interesting to see Rooney’s inclusion in midfield. England fans have been clamouring to see the Manchester United man moved into a deeper position and it appears that some parts of the England setup are beginning to support that view.
We haven’t seen Rooney occupy the position before for England and, though Sky Sports claim that the 30-year-old has informed Hodgson of his desire to play in central midfield, it still represents somewhat of a risk to alter the captain’s role only days from the first game.
But it was plain to see in the 1-0 win over Portugal that Rooney playing behind Vardy and Kane simply wouldn’t work.
Sturridge: We can't win if there are egos
The leak will come as a blow to Daniel Sturridge, who has hopes of starting for the Three Lions.
A lack of playing time has denied Sturridge the opportunity to impress Hodgson in the manner that Kane, Vardy and Marcus Rashford all did this season.
However, the Liverpool forward realises that he can’t be too upbeat if he doesn’t make the starting XI as any negativity inside the locker room will have a negative affect on England’s chances.
“We can't win this thing if there's egos or problems in the camp," he said on Tuesday, per Sky Sports.
"It's about us being here as a team. I look at other countries in many competitions and when they score everyone is off the bench and they are all involved, all jumping on each other celebrating - and that's how we have to be.
"It's not about 'I have to play' or 'he has to play'. If we're not here as a nation, and as a team together, we won't win it. That's how it is."
Should Rooney start at Euro 2016? If so, at what position? Let us know in the comments section below!
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