Wayne Rooney: England XI the last time he was on the bench

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Wayne Rooney has been the subject of much scrutiny over the past couple of months. His form has drastically declined and it seems managers, ex-players and pundits alike cannot decide where his best position is anymore.

At Euro 2016 under Roy Hodgson, the 30-year-old was played in a central midfield role, and that is where he played in Sam Allardyce's first and only game as national boss and also in Gareth Southgate's first in the hot seat.

Jose Mourinho on the other hand said before the start of the season that Rooney will not play in midfield for United, and has been playing as a number 10. Though ironically, when dropped to the bench against Leicester City, the Red Devils ran out 4-1 winners, playing their best football of the season.


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So where does the problem lie? 

He was once again booed by England fans against Malta at Wembley for consistently giving the ball away whilst playing in midfield and reports are suggesting that interim boss Southgate will drop him for the Three Lions World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.

Incredibly, this will be the first time Rooney has been on the bench for a World Cup or European Championship qualifier in 13 years.

The last time was way back in 2003, when England played away to Liechtenstein in a Euro 2004 qualifier, in which they won 2-0.

Rooney had only made his international debut a month earlier, a 3-1 defeat to Australia and despite impressing, was left on the bench against the European minnows. 

And of course, 13 years ago is a ridiculously long time ago, so here is a look back at the players that kept Rooney out of the starting XI.


The ex-Liverpool and Portsmouth keeper made 53 appearances for England before retiring in 2010. He is now a regular pundit on BT Sport and has backed Rooney in the past after the treatment he received at the hands of Louis van Gaal.


The Manchester United legend played with Rooney at club and international level, as well as coaching him between 2012-2016. He's recently backed Mourinho's decision to drop his former teammate after his poor form.


Another United legend that played with Rooney at club and international level. The BT Sport pundit came out after the Malta game to slam the England boo boys, claiming he doesn't deserve this much criticism.


Ironically played the last time Rooney was on the bench and is about to deliver that same fate to the England captain. It seems that the interim manager is trying to show that nobody is safe from the dreaded drop.


The ex-Chelsea left-back made 36 appearances for England and was selected for two World Cup squads and Euro 2004. 


The former England captain and Rooney never had the pleasure of playing together at United, as Rooney joined the year after Becks headed to Real Madrid. But has recently told the 30-year-old not to retire from international duty.


Another of the United contingent that regularly turned out for his country, Scholes has since become a pundit on BT Sport, delivering some brutal analysis which no one could have expected from the silent but deadly midfielder.


Steven Gerrard was England captain before his retirement handed Rooney the armband. The Liverpool legend was the heartbeat of his side on Merseyside, but despite his quality, could not lead the last of the 'Golden Generation' to any major tournament wins.


A bit of an anomaly in the side, but he still managed to make 33 appearances for England. He has since gone on reality TV show 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'.


The legend that is Heskey. "5-1, even Heskey scored" still rings around England games in tribute of the Three Lions' fantastic 5-1 win over Germany back in 2001. The big man was often played out wide for his country, but was an unsung hero during his time.


The ex-Liverpool striker scored 40 goals in 89 appearances for England and is now a pundit on BT Sport. He has said in the past that Rooney's role as England's main striker is over.

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Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Michael Owen
England Football
Rio Ferdinand
David Beckham
Paul Scholes

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