World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson may play Wayne Rooney on the left wing for England, starting tonight against Ecuador

England manager considering radical change to Manchester United striker's role at international level


Roy Hodgson is considering shifting Wayne Rooney out to the left side of England's attack as the England manager explores all his options on the best way to deploy a player who has looked short of his best form.

Rooney trained on the left side of the three attacking midfield players in a 4-2-3-1 formation in a session at the Sun Life stadium in Miami today ahead of the team's second warm-up game, against Ecuador tomorrow. In that system, Ross Barkley occupied the No 10 position with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right side and Rickie Lambert the lone striker.

Hodgson said that Rooney would start the game, only his second outing since 26 April following the victory over Peru at Wembley on Friday. The England manager also confirmed that James Milner would start the match at right-back, admitting that the Manchester City man is his cover in that position for the first-choice Glen Johnson.

It would represent a radical change to Rooney's role at international level. While he has been moved about extensively in his Manchester United career, and asked to play on the left in the days when Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez had to be accommodated in the team; for England he has always played either as a striker or as the playmaker.

Hodgson said that Rooney needed to play matches in order to recover his sharpness and that he was adaptable enough that he did not have to play as a central striker. Asked whether he could play on the left side of midfield, he said Rooney could “absolutely” do that.

Hodgson said: “I think Wayne's a very useful player in the sense you don't have to pin him down and say this is the only position he can play. He can play centre-forward, behind the centre-forward and wide. If he's done all of those things at the very top level for Manchester United, there is no reason why I can't use him in those positions as well. There is a real obsession with Wayne which I don't necessarily share.

”You relate back always to World Cups in the past and episodes in the past. But Wayne is one of my 23 players. I'm very happy to have him here. I don't have to share the obsession that he has to play here or he has to play that. As far as I'm concerned, I look at the players at my disposal and decide what they need and what we need. Then I expect them to do it.“

He added: ”The thinking behind Wayne starting a second game is he only played 60 minutes the other day. He didn't play many games before he joined us. We think that he's recovering his match fitness. We think that starting a game will be to his advantage to play a part, and we'll see how long he plays and that will be based on how we think his fitness is progressing.“

Hodgson confirmed that Rooney would ”not necessarily“ play in the No 10 role. ”Wayne can play in several positions, and he'll play in a position which we think will suit the team and which he is capable of playing.“

Roy Hodgson was put on the defensive about Rooney’s role Roy Hodgson was put on the defensive about Rooney’s role  

Hodgson confirmed that Milner would feature at right-back. ”He's playing right-back … he's got the qualities to play there. There may be moments in the World Cup where we'd like to use him there. This will give him some experience. He's in the squad as a right or left-sided midfield player and that's where we see him mostly, but it'll be interesting to see how he gets on at right-back.“

Frank Lampard will captain the team tomorrow and said that he would make a decision on his future after the World Cup finals, having left Chelsea. He admitted that the MLS in America was an ”option“. He said: ”I'd like to get it sorted out soon. Not in World Cup time, but after that would be ideal. We're here now and we're moving forward so I'm not sure it's possible to do now. I'm big enough to get on with it, it's no problem for me and I'm concentrating fully on the squad.“

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life