Thierry Henry thinks England may need to play Wayne Rooney in deeper role

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Former France international Thierry Henry insists Roy Hodgson must include Wayne Rooney in England's Euro 2016 squad, but Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy's form up front may dictate what role the 30-year-old plays.

Kane and Vardy possess 40 Premier League goals between them, and their impressive form could displace Rooney from his normal starting position up front for England. But Henry believes the Manchester United man can only play a central role for the Three Lions, after Hodgson successfully tried out a 4-3-3 formation against Germany on Saturday.

Dele Alli, Danny Welbeck and Kane started as the front three for England, in Berlin, during an impressive display from the Three Lions against the current world champions. And that has led to questions where Rooney will fit into this youthful set-up - if at all.


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“Back in the day, Rooney could play anywhere. His movement and energy were incredible. One minute he would be in his own penalty area blocking a cross and the next he would be in the opponents’ box leading the counter attack,” Henry told the Sun.

“But physically, that is not so easy for him anymore and I don’t think England can really use him as an effective wide player.

“So if Hodgson wants to start with both Kane and Rooney, it probably means that Wayne would have to play at No 10."

Positive dilemma

Henry believes this is a good dilemma for Hodgson to have, with a number of young players proving their worth in the Premier League this season - particularly so, with Tottenham, where seven Englishmen have regularly featured for Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane.

However, another youngster, Ross Barkley, could pay the price for the form of a number of England players.

“But if he does that, where does he play Ross Barkley? It’s the kind of dilemma any manager would love.

“Some may say that, like the England team, Rooney hasn’t really played well at a major international tournament since 2004,

“But he has shown his quality over many years in the Premier League and Champions League and was on a good run for Manchester United before he suffered his injury."

It is an issue that Hodgson faces in the coming months. Leaving England's record goalscorer out of a major tournament, if they fail to perform in France, is too big a risk for the 68-year-old to take.

The future is youth

But Hodgson knows that, as Rooney enters the latter stages of his career, he needs to afford the likes of Alli, Kane and Welbeck regular game time for England, who are the future of the national team.

All three have been impressive for England, and selecting Rooney, on merit, ahead of the trio would be tough for England fans to take, after what they managed against Germany.

Therefore, Rooney may have to settle for a deeper role, if he is to be a regular feature for the Three Lions in France. Although, it could prove beneficial to have such a prolific goalscorer playing as a number 10.

While the forward's injury has been a hindrance to himself, Vardy and co have grasped their opportunities with both hands, and it is becoming near impossible for the England boss not to start them in France.

“He was their top scorer in the Euro qualifiers, the only England player in history with 50 international goals and the team captain." Henry continued.

“So he still has so much to offer his country and has to go to France. But these games against Germany and Holland without Rooney give Hodgson the perfect opportunity to look at his options against top-class opposition.”

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Thierry Henry
Wayne Rooney
England Football
Premier League

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