Wayne Rooney can thrive in deeper role says Roy Hodgson

 

England coach Roy Hodgson is confident Wayne Rooney can thrive in a deeper role behind a central striker.

With a number of his senior players missing, Hodgson tweaked his normal formation slightly in Wednesday night's 2-1 win over Italy in Berne.

Instead of two obvious forwards, Hodgson let debutant Tom Cleverley take up a position between Andy Carroll and his midfield pairing, knowing his natural instinct would be to drop a bit deeper.

The tactic worked to the extent Hodgson may consider using it again when England take on Moldova in Chisinau on September 7 at the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

"There is a slight difference in respect of Cleverley spending most of his career in central midfield, whilst Wayne has played a lot as an attacker, but it is a fairly small nuance," said Hodgson.

"There is nothing to stop Wayne Rooney playing in that position. He would be very good at it.

"The major point is the quality of passes we get through to that player, the movement of the front player and what we get out of the wide players."

Of more pressing concern to Hodgson at this stage is how extensively his group of players are going to be used this season.

Andy Carroll and Adam Johnson both went into the Italy encounter with question marks hanging over them at Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.

Ryan Bertrand came on in the second-half and he is in the same position at Chelsea, so too Jack Rodwell following his move to Manchester City, whilst Danny Welbeck's opportunities are bound to be less frequent now Robin van Persie is bound for Manchester United.

Hodgson is too pragmatic to set down a rule about the number of appearances anyone must make before they can be considered for selection.

However, he does concede it is a worry.

"The players will realise that their chances of playing for England increase when they are playing more regularly for their club sides," said Hodgson.

"If players were not getting in their teams it would concern me.

"But I must have the courage to see beyond that, pick a player who is not getting in his team, and work on the basis that if he is fully fit and raring to go, with a 10-day period next time for example, we might be able to knock that player into shape."

PA

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