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Who Should Lead The Line For England (Not Rooney?)?

March 13, 2016

- Grant Whittington

The European Championship finals are nearly upon us, which means that the level of undue anticipation among England fans is set to reach fever pitch. This will continue to build until the Championships themselves, at which point the Three Lions will flatter to deceive before departing at the group stage without scoring a single goal.

We are being pessimistic, of course, but these observations are based on a history that has stretched back to 2000 (since which time England has not progressed beyond the quarter-finals of a major tournament).

Should Rooney lead the forward line?

Things may be about to change, however, especially with a new generation of players set to lead the Three Lions at Euro 2016. This is particularly true in attack, where England captain and talisman Wayne Rooney facing increased competition from a new breed of forwards including Harry Kane, Danny Welbeck, and young Manchester United starlet Marcus Rashford. In fact, there is huge debate concerning Rooney’s status as a starter in France, especially with the striker currently injured and out of action.

With Leicester City’s outstanding and irrepressible forward Jamie Vardy also in contention for a starting place, Rooney’s short and long-term future is in significant doubt. After all, the forward has struggled for both form and fitness over the course of the last 18 months, while the fact that he will not return until late April also suggests that he will lack match sharpness when he graces the field once again. England also have history when it comes to selecting an unfit Rooney for a major tournament, and Roy Hodgson will be keen to avoid repeating such mistakes.

Will Wayne star at 2016?

Hodgson is the key figure here, as he has to balance form and fitness alongside experience and pedigree. Rooney is certainly unlikely to be match fit when the tournament gets underway, while Hodgson also has concerns about the consistent fitness of fellow-strikers Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck. Leaving England’s captain and record goal-scorer at home would be a huge gamble, however, and one that Hodgson would be loathe to take.

Hodgson’s cautious nature may be the decisive factor here, and we would certainly not recommend using your free wager at BetHut to back Rooney’s absence. Rooney would also make an excellent option as an impact substitute, while his experience could be crucial during the hustle and bustle of tournament play. This means that while Rooney may not start, it is highly unlikely that he will not make the trip to France if he is fit.

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