Wayne Rooney's transition from central striker to central midfielder has split opinion down the middle. The 30-year-old has always flirted with the deeper position but his current spell threatens to be a permanent one.
Rooney first impressed in the position for Manchester United towards the end of the most recent campaign and appears to have now made the transition for England's national team. He was impressive against Russia, drawing plaudits from both fans and pundits and is likely to continue there for as long as they are involved in Euro 2016.
That is bad news for Arsenal star Jack Wilshere, who appears to be the one offered up for sacrifice to accommodate Rooney. The 24-year-old had been widely tipped to play an important part in Roy Hodgson's team this summer but now looks set for one of an impact substitute.
It appears as though there are no hard feelings between the pair, however, with Wilshere happily admitting that Rooney contains the qualities to make the midfield position his own.
Although recognising that it is he who will suffer, Wilshere believes the England captain has the potential to be an "unbelievable" midfielder.
'I love watching him'
“It hurts me to say but he plays the position unbelievable,” he told The Times. “I don’t see any reason why me and Wayne can’t play together. There are two positions there. Dele did well the other night as well, so let’s not forget about him. There are other players too, [James] Milner and [Jordan] Henderson.
“Wayne’s our best player. Against Russia, everything went through him. He’s got that range of passing, he understands the game. I love watching him.
"His appreciation of the strikers: he reads their runs when not many people could see the pass. To get that pass right, with the right weight, takes a special player. In training, now and then, when he picks up the ball deep and sprays a long pass and he never gets one wrong. He’s always perfect."
And it is a good job that Wilshere likes watching Rooney because that appears to be exactly what he will be doing when England take on Wales on Thursday. The second game in Group B comes with plenty of meaning attached to it. Not only is there a place in the second round to be won for Wales but British bragging rights are also up for grabs.
And with a defeat likely to leave England's campaign hanging by a thread, Hodgson is, according to reports, going to hedge his bets and opt for the same team that started against Russia. Although coming away with a disappointing draw, the England team, which included Rooney in midfield, played well.
Asked whether he would keep the same team, Hodgson told reporters: "We didn't get the result our play deserved on Saturday but it was a good performance and I'm grateful to have the options we do and so many players who want to play. I'm satisfied with everything that's gone so far."
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