It’s the story told in England over and over again. Star player gets injured before a major tournament and with a few weeks left declares himself fit enough to play. He then goes on to under perform in the tournament and England crash out. In the World Cup in 2006, said player was Wayne Rooney. In the World Cup in 2010 again it was Wayne Rooney and in 2014, well you get the picture.
Rooney who has an outstanding goalscoring record in World Cup qualifiers with 16 goals in 22 appearances, has an abismal record in World Cup Finals matches with just one goal in 11 games. While Rooney has a much better record in the European Championships with five goals in six games, his history of carrying injuries into tournaments over-shadows his exceptional goal record.
To add to Rooney’s injury woes, there is the line up of viable English strikers ready to replace him. With Kane, Vardy, Sturridge and Welbeck all hitting form, England took to the field last night in Germany. The big surprise was the exclusion of Jamie Vardy from the start. Relegated to a position on the bench in favour of Kane and Welbeck, things didn’t start out as planned for England, as they found themselves two down shortly after half time.
With a half hour left in the game Harry Kane pulled one back and the game changed completely. Ten minutes later Vardy was introduced and scored just three minutes into his international debut. England left it til late to get the winner through Eric Dier but Rooney, was not missed. They took on the World Champions and beat them, when all seemed lost early on.
With United struggling in the league and Rooney not in the richest form, perhaps it would be inadmissable for Hodgson to take Rooney on the plane to France. There are plenty of strikers in better form and in better shape. Rooney who is 30 years old is for the first time in his career, a long way off being the best striker England has to offer and Euro 2016 is too near to suggest he can turn it around before then.
In all likelihood Wayne will be at the Euros and he will probably play a part but if England are to be considered genuine contenders perhaps it’s best to leave the old chap at home.