Wayne Rooney doesn't have to start for England at Euro 2016

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Wayne Rooney is clearly the best man to lead England at this moment in time, but his leadership does not mean he has to start every game, or any at all.

Whilst it is preferable to have your captain starting every game, it is an issue Roy Hodgson will need to address, because Rooney arguably doesn't fit in to England's best XI. 

Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane have certainly outperformed the Manchester United man this season, and to be quite frank, Rooney hasn't played at a world-class level in a few years now.


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Rooney is a striker first and foremost, and he should not be afforded a place in the midfield at the expense of a better player in the position simply to fit in him somewhere. 

Daniel Sturridge also has very legitimate claims to being a better forward than his captain at this moment in time, and has been more prolific in front of goal for a while now too.

Although Rooney's numbers haven't been stellar in recent times, he still offers a great deal in terms of experience and can clearly still contribute goals at a high level, especially in international football.

He may not be England's best striker anymore, but he should be utilised, it just may be in a different role than he is used to.

It isn't in Hodgson's best interests to sit Vardy or Kane on the bench, as they will pose big problems to defences with their combination of pace and power, so Rooney could be best used as a substitute. 

It isn't as unusual as one might think for a captain to come off the bench. Mikel Arteta, John Terry and Xavi are just three club captains who haven't necessarily started every game for their respective sides in recent times.

Rooney's leadership will have an impact either way, and there are plenty of adequate leaders in the starting lineup who can hold on to the armband whilst he is on the bench.

It would be a shame if Hodgson chose to start Rooney out of position as a midfielder because, whilst he has played there before, he isn't as influential as others in that area of the pitch and leaving a specialist player out would be unfair.

It would be no shock to see Rooney in the starting lineup for every game in France, and he certainly wouldn't let anyone down, however, the simple fact is, England can be better without him.

The England captain is not the destructive force he once was, and may have to take a step back in the best interests of his team this summer, and play second fiddle to Vardy and Kane.

Of course, Hodgson is the only man who has any control over this matter, and it is by no means a black and white issue, Rooney is likely to start, but it is possible that a gig off the bench would be better for the team. 

How should Roy Hodgson deploy Wayne Rooney at Euro 2016? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!

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Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
England Football
Premier League

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