England vs Uruguay World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson will answer Wayne Rooney critics by putting Manchester United striker centre stage
Rooney set to play in his preferred No 10 role behind Daniel Sturridge when England play Uruguay
Wayne Rooney is set to return to the No 10 central role for England against Uruguay, with Roy Hodgson giving the striker a full run-out in the position in training on Tuesday.
Having moved Rooney to the left for the Italy game on Saturday, a 2-1 defeat for Hodgson’s side, it now looks like the Manchester United man will return to a more familiar position, with Raheem Sterling moved to the wing. In training, Hodgson played with Sterling on the right and Danny Welbeck on the left, two days before England face Uruguay in Sao Paulo.
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On Monday, Rooney had not warmed-down with the main group of outfield players who started the match on Saturday. He responded angrily to what he perceived as suggestions that this might mean he could be left out of the team on Thursday. In a statement on his Facebook page he said that it had been done at his own request.
“Sometimes wonder what the press are getting at,” Rooney posted. “I said from the start I want to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready for these World Cup games and as part of that I was doing extra training a week before the squad joined up. That’s exactly what I did, my own extra training because that’s what I wanted to do.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still predominantly training separately from the main squad and is likely to miss out on the Uruguay game as he recovers from the medial-ligament strain on his right knee. The team will travel to Sao Paulo for the match later today,with Hodgson due to speak tonight at the Arena Corinthians.
Frank Lampard railed against what he said was an “agenda” with Rooney that he thought was unhealthy. “If every time a player reads a paper or looks at the TV and there are people debating his position I don’t see how that can be positive,” he said. “If you want people to do well I don’t see how you can keep focusing on one player rather than the team.”
Nevertheless, Lampard said that he did not believe that would affect Rooney. “Of all the players I’ve met in an England shirt, Wayne is one of the toughest. I remember him coming into the dressing-room at 17 [in 2003], warming up, getting his kit on and going out and playing. He still plays with that mind-set.
“On the training ground, in the games, he has been the same. I think you can see that. I’m not picking the manager’s team for him, but Wayne is a very tough boy. Top players understand what it is. They understand what comes with it. It’s great and then some negativity comes along. I think Wayne looks ready to show what he can do on the pitch. He looks very focused to me.
“He’s quite an unselfish player. Of course, he would love to score, but the way he plays and the way he is, he’s a creator of goals as well as a goalscorer. Ideally, yes of course he would want to score a goal, but Wayne takes as much pleasure from creating goals as scoring them.”
Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard of England run with team mates during a training session at the Urca military base
Lampard said he had not seen a change in Rooney’s mood. “I’ve known him for a long time now and we never mention it. We just watch the other games in the hotel, have massages, have a joke.
“It was one of the masseurs’ 50th birthday today, so we strapped him [Paul Small] and volleyed a few balls at him, as us mature boys do, and that’s it. It’s light-hearted. That’s how it is. You have to have that. We’re away a long time. You have to have your moments, but Wayne is always at the middle of the light-heartedness as well.’
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