Connect with us

England

Why Wayne Rooney must leave Manchester United in the summer to save his international career

Martyn Cooke

Published

on

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has dismissed reports that he is set to leave Old Trafford and has instead insisted that he wants to remain a part of Jose Mourinho’s team – at least until the summer.

The 31-year-old had been linked with a move to the Far East with a number of Chinese Superclubs interested in securing his signature before their transfer window closes later this month. However, Rooney released a statement on Thursday in which he stated his desire to remain at Old Trafford and said that he hoped to “play a full part” as United continue to battle for silverware on four fronts this season.

However, in reality, Rooney’s statement simply confirms that he will remain in Manchester until the summer and does little to address the uncertainty surrounding his long-term future. It is little surprise that the striker is unwilling to exit the club at this late stage of the season, especially when he could still end the campaign with three winners medals added to his already illustrious list of achievements.

Yet Mourinho has continued to overlook the England captain in his team selections this season and if the 31-year-old wants to represent his country at the 2018 World Cup in Russia then he has no other option but to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Country before club?

Wayne Rooney has made it clear that he wants to lead England to the 2018 World Cup before retiring from international football when the tournament concludes. However, Gareth Southgate will be struggling to justify the inclusion of the 31-year-old based on current form and performances at club level.

Jose Mourinho has used Rooney sparingly throughout the season and has continuously opted to include other forward players in his starting line-up. The striker may be Manchester United’s all-time record goal scorer but he has found the net just five times this campaign and has started just three games since early December. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and, arguably, Marcus Rashford are all blocking his path to a regular berth in the first team and game time has been severely limited since the turn of the year.

In short, if Rooney is determined to play in Russia in just over one year’s time then he will need to depart Old Trafford for pastures new. He needs game time – but in a European league.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Far East should be avoided

The Chinese Super League has already succeeded in tempting a number of high profile European players to the Far East as the country throws around extortionate amounts of money in an attempt to develop their domestic competitions. However, if Wayne Rooney is serious about prolonging his international career then he should avoid the Far East at all costs.

By moving to China the 31-year-old would be announcing his own exclusion from the England team, much in the same way that David Beckham did when he moved to LA Galaxy in 2007.

Whilst the overall standard of Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League is improving it is still a considerable distance behind the quality of Europe’s major domestic leagues. Gareth Southgate would surely find it impossible to select Rooney if the striker is jogging around in a second-rate competition across the other side of the globe. Football in the Far East would not provide Rooney with an accurate replication of European football and it certainly would not be suitable preparation for playing in the World Cup.

Therefore the financial riches of the Far East must be avoided.

http://gty.im/160417460

 

Where next?

It would seem unlikely that any of the leading clubs in England would have a serious interest in signing Wayne Rooney should the player indicate that he was prepared to leave Old Trafford. Manchester City and Liverpool would both be dubious moves due to local rivalry and history whilst it is difficult to see the striker holding down a regular place in the starting line-up at Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur or Arsenal. A return to Everton would have a sentimental attraction although Toffee supporters have been raucous is their criticism since his departure in 2004.

So where next for England and Manchester United’s all-time leading goal scorer?

A move to the continent could provide the perfect solution. David Beckham demonstrated that an Englishman can make a positive impact in the Italian, Spanish and French top-flight divisions and Rooney could well benefit from an experience away from the Premier League.

A fresh start in a new country could well re-energise and re-enthuse the 31-year-old who has increasingly looked out of place in the high-tempo hustle-and-bustle of English football. The slower pace of the game in Italy or Spain would allow him greater freedom to express himself whilst the different tactical concepts, opposition and stadia would provide a new challenge for the man who has already achieved everything in English football. The language barrier would be an initial issue but Rooney’s quality and intelligence on the pitch would still shine through.

Travelling north of the boarder and sampling the cuisine of Scottish football would be an option, especially given the financial clout and dominance of Glasgow Celtic, but there would be little to entice Rooney to make the jump. The striker’s wage demands would also be a significant stumbling block, as it would be for any non-Champions League teams across Europe’s leading divisions.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Expect an announcement in the summer

It is clear that Wayne Rooney will need to depart Old Trafford if he has a genuine intention to play in the 2018 World Cup. The 31-year-old is simply not being handed enough game time at Manchester United and it would be difficult for Gareth Southgate to justify the striker’s inclusion for the tournament if he was stranded amongst the substitutes for the forthcoming eighteen months.

A move is needed, but the final destination is uncertain.

Featured Image: All Rights Reserved Rahma Fitri (Rahma Fitri)

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

Crystal Palace

Ruben Loftus-Cheek deserves England start after Tunisia cameo

The 22-year-old proved the catalyst for England in his second-half cameo.

Jake Jackman

Published

on

Photo: Getty Images

England managed to get their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start with a win over Tunisia.

It wasn’t straightforward and they had to wait until stoppage time, but Harry Kane popped up at the crucial time to deliver three points.

Their next match is against Panama on Sunday and a win will almost certainly be enough to see them through to the next round.

Germany’s loss against Mexico means that it may be beneficial for the Three Lions to finish second in their group, but Gareth Southgate will be focused on qualifying first and foremost.

The performance from England was a refreshing one as the players looked to play in a positive manner and were confident in their ability to play out from the back.

There were some sketchy moments, but mistakes are part of the process and there is now real hope for a better future.

Southgate has put his faith in a lot of younger players and one made an impact on Monday.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a surprise selection, but the midfielder was brought on against Tunisia and he had a positive impact.

(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

England looked like they were tiring and it was important that Southgate made the necessary changes to get a win.

It was a risk to bring on the 22-year-old considering his lack of experience, but he provided dynamism in the centre of the park when it was required.

During his short time on the pitch, he looked to be aggressive in his movement and managed to break free in the final third on a couple of occasions.

He completed one dribble and won his only aerial duel. Loftus-Cheek had a breakthrough season with Crystal Palace and he could emerge as one of the breakout stars of the competition if he continues to play in a positive manner.

At times, England looked lightweight and lacking ideas in the middle of the park.

Dele Alli was a shadow of his usual self and appeared to be carrying a knock. He managed to produce one key pass, but his influence was limited.

Meanwhile, Jesse Lingard offered threatening movement, but his final ball was poor. He had a number of chances in the final third and none of them resulted in a goal.

Although he was only on the pitch for roughly ten minutes, Loftus-Cheek provided athleticism and drive that the team were previously lacking.

All of his contributions were made with the right intentions and he seemed to grow on the world stage.

It would have been easy for the midfielder to come on and play it safe. He didn’t do that and Southgate would have been encouraged by that.

Panama is a game that England should be targeting for three points. Southgate saw that his chosen formation worked against Tunisia, but there could be a change of players that makes it more effective.

Loftus-Cheek has to be one of the players lined up for a start for either Lingard or Alli. There is an opportunity for experimentation and if the 22-year-old can deliver over ninety minutes, it could be a sign of what is to come this summer.

Continue Reading

England

Three things learnt from England’s World Cup victory against Tunisia

They left it late, but The Three Lions grabbed a deserved opening game victory.

Martyn Cooke

Published

on

Photo: Getty Images

England kicked off their World Cup campaign with a victory against Tunisia on Monday evening and gave their chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the tournament a significant boost.

However, it was far from straightforward and it took a last-gasp injury time goal from Harry Kane to secure the three points.

Here, The Boot Room highlights three things that we learnt from England vs Tunisia.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Harry Kane is key to England’s prospects

We have often seen England players struggled to perform at major international tournaments, but Harry Kane quickly squashed any doubts over whether he would be able to transfer his domestic goal scoring form onto the international stage.

The Tottenham Hotspur forward scored 41 goals for his club this season and he further underlined the claim that he is one of the best striker’s in Europe with two crucial strikes on Monday evening. Neither were particularly impressive, both were close range finishes, but his knack of being in the right place at the right time was ultimately the difference on the night.

It is easy to forget that Kane is only 24-years-old and is one of the youngest captains at the World Cup, yet he showed no signs of feeling the pressure and his clinical instincts in front of goal will be key if England are to progress to the latter stages of the tournament.

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Need to be more clinical in front of goal

In many respects, Harry Kane’s injury-time winner has meant that the attention has been directed away by how wasteful England were in front of goal during the opening period.

Whilst the team produced an impressive first half display, a number of individual players were guilty of missing a host of guilt-edged chances. Dele Alli saw his header deflected onto the bar whilst Jesse Lingard failed to convert two clear-cut chances, one clipping the post whilst the other was fired too close to the Tunisian goalkeeper.

In truth, England could have been out of sight by half time and Tunisia were fortunate to reach the half time interval on level terms.

However, if Gareth Southgate’s side are to progress to the latter stages of the World Cup then they can ill afford to be as wasteful in front of goal as they were on Monday, especially when they come up against better opposition.

(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Impact substitutes

Midway through the second half with the game tied at one goal apiece Gareth Southgate would have undoubtedly glanced back at the England substitutes gathered on the bench as he considered how to change the game.

The good news is that the squad has good strength in depth, particularly in forward areas, and there are certainly plenty of players that have the capacity to make an impact when coming off the bench.

On Monday evening Southgate opted to place his faith in Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Both came on and made a significant impact on the game with their energy, pace, power and movement and their introduction certainly helped to generate new momentum in the closing stages of the contest.

It is refreshing to see an England squad that has so many options, Jamie Vardy and Danny Welbeck were not involved, and it will be crucial that Southgate utilises all the talent in his squad as the tournament progresses.

Continue Reading

England

World Cup One To Watch: England’s 24-year-old goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

The England international will be a player to keep an eye out for in Russia.

Published

on

Jordan Pickford
Photo: Getty Images

After an impressive Premier League season for Everton, it perhaps comes a little surprise that Jordan Pickford has been named as England’s first choice goalkeeper for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

At a time when the country’s goalkeeping options have never looked stronger, the Everton number one has emerged as Gareth Southgate’s preferred option ahead of this month’s competition in Russia.

The 24-year-old, preferred to Stoke City‘s Jack Butland and Burnley‘s Nick Pope, now has the opportunity to build on an outstanding season at club level.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

Who is he?

Jordan Pickford became the most expensive British keeper in history after Everton paid £25 million – rising to what would be a club record £30 million – to sign him from Sunderland last summer.

A product of the Black Cats’ Academy, after joining the club aged eight – he has had spells on loan at Darlington, Alfreton Town, Burton Albion, Carlisle United, Bradford City and Preston North End.

Despite a turbulent season for the club as a whole, Pickford enjoyed an impressive debut campaign at Goodison Park, which saw him named the Toffees’ Player of the Season, Players’ Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season.

Playing every minute in all 38 Premier League fixtures for the Blues, the 24-year-old has quickly begun to repay what had previously been considered a hefty price-tag.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

What is his international experience/record?

Having represented England at all levels from Under-16s, Pickford his senior bow in a 0-0 draw against world champions Germany in November 2017 before keeping a second clean sheet in a 1-0 away win against Holland in his second appearance for The Three Lions.

The 24-year-old made only his third international appearances when he started in a 2-1 friendly victory over Nigeria last weekend before he was all-but confirmed as Southgate’s number one shot-stopper ahead of the summer competition.

It is suggested that his superior ability with the ball at his feet and distribution is more conducive to the possession-based pressing style the relatively inexperienced England boss wants to implement.

Why will he be a breakout World Cup star?

“I was really pleased with what Jordan did,” Gareth Southgate revealed, as per BBC Sport, full of praise for Pickford after his performance against Nigeria.

“Normally, when you play for England, there’s not an awful lot of opportunity to produce a lot of saves. But his decision making on crosses, the punch he made, his distribution and calmness to slide passes into midfield… that was really important to the way we want to play.”

Pickford’s form will be absolutely key for an England side that has struggled for creativity in recent years.

The Three Lions’ progression from Group C – competing with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama – is likely to come down to the slimmest of margins and, in keeping goals out at the other end of the pitch, the 24-year-old will be instrumental.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

What is his future after the World Cup?

While many Premier League fans would initially consider Pickford content to stay at Goodison Park, an impressive showing in Russia could prove a springboard to even greater things.

According to recent reports by The Sun, Bayern have been scouting Pickford in recent months as they look to bring in a new long-term first-choice goalkeeper.

The former Sunderland favourite’s progress since his £30 million move means the Bavarian giants have identified the 24-year-old as a top choice for succeeding club icon Manuel Neuer.

Ahead of the World Cup, Bayern will surely not be the only side monitoring his future, with assured goalkeepers becoming increasingly difficult to lay hands on.

Involvement in Russia could result in an unexpected and somewhat premature Goodison exit for Pickford. Watch this space.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2018 The Boot Room.