With Wayne Rooney absent for the first two Euro 2012 league matches due to suspension, newly appointed England coach Roy Hodgson would have to depend on the likes of Ashley Young in his quest to be a successful manager at the summer tournament. The versatility of the 26-year old Manchester United attacking winger would come in handy in Poland and the Ukraine as England look to put behind a period of uncertainty caused by the departure of Fabio Capello earlier in the year and put up a solid show in the East. No doubt Wayne Rooney will be missed in the couple of matches but the Three Lions would dearly hope that they can do the requisite job by qualifying for the next round thus enabling Rooney to assert himself at the latter stages of the tournament.
Since his expensive move to Manchester United from Aston Villa in the summer of 2011, Ashley Young has had a successful first season at Old Trafford impressing the public with his dazzling display in the wings especially cutting inside from the left flank and shooting with his strong right foot. Snubbed by Fabio Capello in the last World Cup, Young has returned as a better player with an intent to be an England international for many years to come. His telepathic understanding with Wayne Rooney at United made him one of the most stand out players at Manchester United this season and former England coach Fabio Capello turned out to be a great admirer of the Stevenage-born player as his brilliant club form has been replicated on the international stage. What is immensely frustrating for an England fan is the fact Wayne Rooney would not be there for the games against France and Sweden and there would be no club and country combination between Young and Rooney and instead the former Aston Villa man would be drifted in as a replacement with Hodgson likely to provide his young winger with a more centralised role giving the traditional 4-4-2 style of play more dynamism and unpredictability.
The 1-0 friendly victory away to Norway on Saturday night provided Roy Hodgson with a first hand look of his side and given what Ashley Young achieved in the absence of Wayne Rooney apart from scoring the winner, the 64-year old manager has reasons to be optimistic about England’s chances in the forthcoming internationals. Young showed good understanding with Liverpool‘s Andy Carroll against Norway, adjusting well in a central role and the latter’s physical presence opened up a lot of space for the Manchester United man to operate freely showcasing his agility, versatility and pin point crossing. The young winger offers more to the England team than many could imagine. Apart from cutting from inside and shooting at goal at a ferocious pace, Ashley Young would be handful for any opposition defender with his sudden burst of speed whether it is in a central position or down the flanks. The unpredictability about Young’s play is an untapped asset for the Three Lions as he is equally efficient in influencing the game from the deep as defenders would be hard pressed to tackle a player who can achieve equal success both at the flanks and at the middle with his pace and skill.
Rooney’s absence will be felt but herein lies the chance for players such as Ashley Young to prove that England are not over reliant on their inspirational striker and someone can fill the void with his own naturally god gifted playing style. If France and Sweden can be handled successfully in the absence of Wayne Rooney, Roy Hodgson’s men could have a massive say in Euro 2012 as England finally look to end their international trophy drought.
Four goals in 2011 and two in 2012 with goals against Holland in February and Norway last weekend proving that the Manchester United man has a good eye for goals besides creating chances for fellow strikers and midfielders and dictating the midfield and wing play.