Roy Hodgson seems committed to playing Wayne Rooney against Russia on 11 June despite criticism
There appear to be three things certain in life. Death, taxes and Wayne Rooney starting for England while Roy Hodgson remains in charge.
Rooney certainly deserves a spot in the Three Lions squad that will shortly head to France for Euro 2016, although many feel that the Manchester United forward’s presence in the starting XI has a negative effect.
Against Portugal, England were disjointed as Hodgson deployed the controversial diamond formation which saw Rooney operate as the attacking tip but also meant that Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy were pulled out wide.
Bet365 have hardened Rooney to 1/14 to line up against Russia on 11 June, with the forward expected to continue as the attacking midfielder which doesn’t just see Kane and Vardy spill out wide but also leads to Dele Alli playing in a deeper role for England.
It appears that Jack Wilshere or James Milner will play as the other central midfielder in the diamond formation, with Eric Dier certain to play the holding role in front of the defence.
Rooney is 8/1 to be on the bench for the clash against Russia and it is also clear that Kane will start this game, although Vardy is 4/7 to start and 5/4 not to start after an underwhelming performance against the Portuguese.
Hodgson rebuffed criticism of England’s formation in their final friendly before Euro 2016 and claimed that the team played well after recording an unconvincing victory.
“We played with split strikers,” said Hodgson. “If you play with them both through the middle with Rooney central as well you can’t defend the wide areas. There were some moments where you might be right and Kane and Vardy were a little too wide but their job is to split and come together at the right times. If you play with a man in behind them, you have to make sure he has space in which to run.
“I’m not prepared to accept that we didn’t play well. Portugal are ranked higher than us in the Fifa rankings, so there is no reason to be dissatisfied. We looked good, we had composure throughout the game and it would have been better to play against 11.
“I’m very pleased with three wins, we never looked like conceding a goal. I’m not prepared to add my voice to the debate [on the strikers]. We need all of our players playing well, and I’m not prepared to stand here and criticise some players. If I start being dissatisfied with three wins against Australia, Turkey and Portugal I’m going to be a hard coach to satisfy.”