Wayne Rooney mustn't start for England at Euro 2016

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Football News

England's performance in Berlin last Saturday was one of the finest we have seen from the Three Lions in the last decade.

Victory over Germany came courtesy of a side with very little international experience but great character, recovering from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 without captain Wayne Rooney.

In the Manchester United striker's absence, Roy Hodgson started Harry Kane as his lone striker in a 4-3-3 system with Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck out wide. In the second half, Jamie Vardy was introduced up front to play alongside Kane and just in front of Tottenham's Dele Alli.


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And they were no less dangerous without their skipper, creating numerous opportunities and eventually taking them; Kane scored the Three Lions' first with a marvellous Cruyff turn and finish, whilst Vardy's equaliser came from a spectacular back-heel flick from Nathaniel Clyne's cross.

As a result, Rooney's place in England's starting XI is in doubt - and the statistics only serve to suggest he shouldn't feature. Despite being his nation's record goalscorer, the 30-year-old has managed only six goals in five major tournaments, four of which coming at Euro 2004.

Rooney is arguably past his best, both on the international stage and domestically, and has come in for criticism for scoring many against the lesser international sides and not enough against the bigger ones.

Against Joachim Low's Germany, England pressed high with hunger and speed, the youthful look of the Three Lions clearly playing a vital role in that. It's a valid question to ask whether Rooney would offer the very same energy compared to the likes of Vardy, Kane, Alli and Barkley.

The biggest question, though, is where exactly he would fit in. It would be unjust to not start Alli in the number ten role given his performances for England and Tottenham, and to chose Rooney ahead of Kane or Vardy - the Premier League's top scorers - would be utterly unfair.

What's imperative is that Hodgson doesn't grant his captain a starting spot purely because of the armband he dons. By all means take him to the tournament, but there are far more deserving players of a spot who could arguably do a better job.

Despite the Netherlands defeat, England have a genuinely good chance of reaching at least the semi-finals in France, but if they're to do so, Rooney must play a background role and allow his younger teammates the chance to blossum and carry their domestic form onto the international stage.

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Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Manchester United
England Football
Premier League
David Beckham

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