England coach Roy Hodgson says he is prepared to play Wayne Rooney in a more attacking role at Euro 2016 though the Manchester United striker has been a key figure in the midfield.
He has earned high praises for his ability to adapt to the position on the international stage and exceeded expectations as the team’s creative force in the middle of the pitch.
His displays for Man United towards the end of last season forced Hodgson into playing him in a deeper role during England’s pre-tournament preparations, but the England boss insists he has considered using the 30-year-old as a forward.
“We’ll get a goalscorer from distance, we’ll get a passer and we’ll get the benefit of his experience and his captaincy.
“In the two games so far, what we have seen from Eric Dier and Dele Alli I was half expecting, but Wayne was one where I had to wait and see what he would be like, although I did see him play there for Manchester United and knew he could do it.
“It is not a surprise that the situation has occurred (that he has dropped into midfield), but with that said, we would always be prepared to use him as a front player.day’s final group game against Slovakia at Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Hodgson insists that Rooney’s days as a centre-forward are not over.
“I had it in mind more recently, but Wayne has been playing for England for over 12 years and he is still playing at 30 with over 100 caps,” Hodgson said. “There is always going to be a time, especially as these young bucks come on the scene who run like gazelles and sprint like the wind, that players are thinking ‘maybe it is time for me to move back a little bit.’
“But I’m happy for him to be the Wayne Rooney we want and the captain of our team.
He’s by far the most experienced player for his club and country, his performance in the FA Cup final over Crystal Palace at Wembley showed his potential in the midfield and his goal for England has silenced most of his critics for now.
Hodgson’s side is the youngest squad England have taken to a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup and there’s no doubt his guidance has been inspirational for some of the youngsters breaking through onto the team.
It’s inevitable for him to move into a deeper role as he enters the latter stages of his career but his intelligence of the game has allowed him to make up for the lack of pace he provides. He’s proven his value to the team in France and it’s clear Hodgson will be keeping him heavily involved in their upcoming matches.