With Wayne Rooney announcing in the week that he will retire from international football after England's 2018 World Cup campaign, much of the talk has surrounded the Three Lions captain in recent days.
However, discussions prior to the match had surrounded the Manchester United striker's role under new boss Sam Allardyce, with the 61-year-old agreeing to field Rooney in a number ten role. But contrary to what the Three Lions chief said, commentators and pundits were baffled by the captain's role in England's last-gasp 1-0 away win to Slovakia.
Rooney dropped much deeper than the number ten role he has been playing at for United, and Allardyce subsequently admitted after the game that his captain was given a free role to play wherever he wanted and felt required, across the pitch.
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"Today Wayne played wherever he wanted to." Allardyce said, as reported by the International Business Times.
"He was brilliant and controlled midfield. I can't stop Wayne playing there."
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But the England captain had a contradicting view to Allardyce's comments, insisting he played where the manager told him to, although he admitted the change of role was beneficial.
"That's where Sam wanted me to play," Rooney explained. "We worked on it through the week. When the team was announced a lot of people thought I was going to play higher, but it suits me."
However, the comments made by Allardyce both confused and worried some England fans, who took to Twitter to vent their concerns.
Rooney's freedom to roam the pitch proved to do no harm, as Adam Lallana's injury-time strike was enough to seal an important first win for Allardyce and a positive start to the Three Lions' World Cup qualifying campaign. However, the England boss has admitted it wasn't easy watching on from the sidelines at times.
Allardyce added: "It was pretty nerve-racking at the end because the ten-men scenario meant we must win. [But] we got what we deserved in the end and won in the last minute,
"We have dominated the game and got a very important win."
Stuck to the plan
Victory was sealed late on, to avoid back-to-back goalless draws between the two sides who met in the group stages of this summer's Euro 2016 tournament in France. Rooney credited his team's desire to keep going and push for an away win, despite Slovakia holding strong for more than 90 minutes.
"We didn't panic, that was the main thing." said Rooney. "We stuck to our plan and kept our shape. Adam scored the goal to get us off to an excellent start,"
England's first game under Allardyce was not a performance to savour, but an important win in Slovakia has made solid foundations from which England, in this new era, can build upon.
Was Sam Allardyce right to give Wayne Rooney freedom against Slovakia? Give your opinion in the comment box below.
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