Eriksson: English game is still killing Rooney
Sven Goran Eriksson has said that English football is still "killing" Wayne Rooney more than it should and that his potential to win any game for the national side should make him the first name on the squad sheet for next summer's European Championships.
Eriksson, The Independent's new football columnist, told the English nation "don't kill Rooney" after the player's dismissal at Gelsenkirchen in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final against Portugal, and he declared after Rooney's three-game suspension for next summer's finals that the 25-year-old is still being subjected to more criticism than he would in continental Europe. "Criticise him for one or two days and then it's over," Eriksson said. "During the first days [the reaction] is the same in England as it would be in Italy, Portugal, Sweden. But here it has a habit of going on forever."
The Football Association is leaning towards an appeal to Uefa over the three-game ban but the Leicester City manager, who also declared in his valedictory press conference at Gelsenkirchen, that Rooney would "win a World Cup one day", insisted that his capacity to score in next summer's final in Kiev's Olympic Stadium made his selection essential, regardless of his absence earlier in the tournament.
"I don't know how [Fabio] Capello is thinking. I guess he is frustrated because it is obvious that Rooney is the best striker we have in England," said Eriksson, whose first column will be published on Wednesday. "I can guess that Wayne Rooney is disappointed as well. But I would take him to the finals – of course. England will go further than the group stage. You have the quarters straight away – you have a very fresh player for the quarter-finals. That's my idea. Rooney, we know, is a match-winner. That's why you have to take a gamble."
Eriksson did that with David Beckham, who broke a metatarsal before the 2002 World Cup and with Michael Owen, who did the same six months before the 2006 tournament. And he would take that gamble again. "I know some people thought that was wrong but if you think about Rooney, Beckham, Owen at that time – you had to take them because they can win a match for you."
Latest in Sport
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on today but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Manchester City transfer news: City determined to sign Paul Pogba and meet £71m British transfer record
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Cristiano Ronaldo storms out of interview after being asked about possible sale of Manchester United target Sergio Ramos
- 1 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response from Ellen DeGeneres
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture