Wayne Rooney: England are heading into a must-win Euro 2016 clash

by Robbie Dunne


Wayne Rooney says the pressure is on England ahead of their Euro 2016 clash with Iceland on Monday night.

The Manchester United and England captain will likely regain his starting position having been rested during their 0-0 draw against Slovakia in the group stages.

He understands the pressure of playing for England and says his side are confident of a victory.

“Every game has a lot of pressure playing for England,” he said.

“We understand that as a team, as a group of players, and we know we are favourites to win this game. There’s no denying that.

“We’re confident we can, we will give everything and we will try to take what we’ve worked on, our game plan, into the game to give us the best chance to win it.”

Roy Hodgson has come under fire for his team selection during the European Championship, but has always been relatively successful with Rooney in a deep midfield role.

Against Wales, Rooney dominated the middle at stages and started to show a real flair for the position he has recently had to adapt to, flinging passes out to full-backs and switching play with a calmness, not seen in that position since Paul Scholes retired from international duty in 2004.

England have options in the role with Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and James Milner but none of those players exhibit the passing skills of Rooney or the creativity needed to break down defences from deep. While Rooney has not shown his own exquisite passing on a consistent basis, he has proven his ability and will rely on the movement of players ahead of him to take dissemble Iceland’s defence on Monday night.

A lot will rely on how Rooney plays in his new-found role and while he is expected to carry the team, if they do lose, a lot of criticism will be aimed in his direction too.

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