The mind games have well and truly begun ahead of England and Wales’ Euro 2016 clash on Thursday afternoon.
Gareth Bale has criticised the Three Lions for a lack of passion; Roy Hodgson has since branded the Real Madrid star as “disrespectful”; whilst Adam Lallana believes Wales should fear England.
Thursday’s 2pm kick off should be a fixture of epic proportions, then, if the pre-game hype is anything to go by.
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And it would seem Wales have struck the latest blow by earmarking who England's ‘weak link’ will be at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.
According to the Daily Mail, Chris Coleman has ordered his side to target Wayne Rooney in his newly-established central midfield role.
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The 46-year-old believes England’s captain was afforded far too much space and respect by Russia on Saturday night.
Rooney - who played 78 minutes in Marseille - was hailed for his performance at the Stade Velodrome, but Coleman thinks his influence would be considerably lessened if put under constant pressure.
In order to do so, Crystal Palace midfielder Joe Ledley could be handed a start to ensure Rooney is man-marked throughout the clash - a chance he didn’t think he would get after fracturing his fibula five weeks ago.
The 29-year-old said in a recent interview: “When I had the X-ray I thought that was game over. It was hard to get my head around it.
“Of course you shed a tear because I’ve worked by socks off.”
England will certainly have their work cut out against a Wales side that made history on Saturday.
Bale and co. ran out 2-1 winners over Slovakia and in doing so became the first British team to win a European Championship opening fixture.
Hodgson’s men, on the other hand, were denied victory against Russia after Eric Dier’s rasping free-kick was cancelled out by Vasili Berezutski’s late equaliser.
Pressure is now on for England to claim all three points in a game they can’t afford to lose.
And one change that fans want to see is Harry Kane taken off corners.
The Tottenham striker is, somewhat confusingly, England’s designated corner kick taker despite being 6 ft. 2 and an aerial threat.
Hodgson has since revealed why Kane is taking corners, and that he will continue to do so.
According to the Independent, he said: “Harry is the best striker of the ball we have. He’s the one who gives us the best delivery.
“We’ve tried many other players and we don’t get the same level of delivery as we get from Harry.”
Jack Wilshere has also backed Kane to remain on corner kick duty.
“I think when you’ve got that special technique you can make an exception,” the 24-year-old added.
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