Roy Hodgson says he won't play Wayne Rooney in midfield for England
England manager Roy Hodgson says he will not play Wayne Rooney in midfield, and emphasises that he is a born striker. Rooney has found himself in a deeper midfield role this season, for his club, and everyone has been wondering whether it will carry over to the national team as well.
Rooney has been deployed as a midfielder lately for the Red Devils, making 12 of his 21 starts this season in the middle of the park.
When asked, Hodgson said, “Wayne’s a goalscorer isn’t he? So one always likes to see ones goalscorers in positions where they can get into the box and in and around the box. If you’ve got several other goalscorers and you can afford to use one of your goalscorers a bit further back, that’s fine.”
“But he’s our top goalscorer in the qualifiers, he’s just a couple of goals away now from being England’s leading goalscorer, so I hope he will continue to score goals for us.”
“We’ll only use him in the position that suits our team and I don’t know that will be centre midfield where he plays for Manchester United because they’ve got other players and that’s where they think he does the best job for him and I fully respect that.”
“At the moment I don’t necessarily think that (central midfield) will be his best position for us and I don’t have any immediate plans to play him there but who knows? I will never say never.”
Hodgson, however, recognized Rooney’s versatility and said, “Wayne’s the sort of player, he can play anywhere. You couldn’t surprise me if one day he played right-back and did very well. He’s a very, very good footballer.”
Rooney has a brilliant goal-scoring record
Rooney, who scored twice against Scotland in the country’s last international, is expected to play in his favoured position in next month’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania.
The 29-year-old is the captain of both club and country and boasts a brilliant scoring record. Rooney is four goals behind England’s all-time top scorer Sir Bobby Charlton, who scored 49 international goals.
At club level, Rooney has 224 goals for Manchester United, just 25 behind Sir Bobby’s 249. However, after moving to the midfield this season, Rooney has gone his last nine matches without scoring.