Wayne Rooney.

Tony Cascarino: Wayne Rooney thinks he is Andrea Pirlo

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On his record-breaking 116th appearance for England, Wayne Rooney was once again the subject of criticism amongst football fans and the media.

Playing in a deep-lying midfield role after being told by Sam Allardyce to play where he pleased, the Manchester United ace was poor and failed to make any meaningful contribution throughout the 90 minutes.

Indeed, had Adam Lallana not spared England's blushes with a last-minute winner, Rooney's performance would have been scrutinised even further.


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Whilst comfortable in possession and confident of his playmaking abilities, England's captain is no midfielder and should be further up the field trying to score goals, not playing 10-yard passes in the centre of the park.

That's the view of former professional and Times columnist Tony Cascarino, who believes Rooney is trying - and failing - to emulate Andrea Pirlo.

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He wrote: "For the majority of the match I couldn’t help but think of Glenn Hoddle.

"I was lucky enough to play with Glenn and he could play a pass blind - he didn't have to lift his head up to know where the strikers or wingers wanted the ball.

"He was always one step ahead and able to play that killer round-the-corner ball.

"It's the same with Andrea Pirlo. Ridiculously, England’s midfield has three of the same in Wayne Rooney, Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson - constantly needing to lift their heads, making it much easier for the opposition to read what will happen next and pick off the pass.

Slovakia v England: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

"It's a split-second thing but a vital one at the highest level.

"Rooney thinks he is Pirlo, dropping deep and wanting to dictate play, but he’s not a midfielder and not the great Italian."

Tell us how you really feel, Tony.

The 54-year-old makes a valid point in truth. Throughout the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia, Rooney played one killer through ball and that was to Theo Walcott, who was offside.

There's no doubting the 30-year-old's time as a lone striker is up, but dropping into deep midfield is a touch drastic - he should be in the No.10 role.

Slovakia v England: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

And even there he faces stiff competition for a starting role, with Dele Alli and Ross Barkley both gunning to feature in behind the striker.

Carry on churning out uninspiring performances and Rooney's days as a starter under Allardyce will be numbered, even if he only has two years left in him anyway.

He recently revealed how he will retire after the 2018 Russia World Cup.

"I still feel capable of doing a good job for England," he said, per the Daily Mail. "The World Cup is obviously important, a huge moment in anyone’s life, and I’ll try and give it one last go."

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Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Euro 2016
England Football
David Beckham
Frank Lampard

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