England scraped through a 1-0 victory over Slovakia in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, but captain Wayne Rooney was yet again subject to growing criticism.
In his column in the Daily Mail, former Chelsea and Blackburn striker Chris Sutton criticised England captain Wayne Rooney during the Three Lions’ 1-0 victory over Slovakia in the World Cup qualifiers.
“With Rooney in a deep-lying midfield role for most of the match, Harry Kane was isolated up front and it killed his game. For Kane to be most effective he needs players in and around him to link up with,” wrote Sutton.
“Rooney can’t pick and choose where he plays — it’s not a testimonial. He is a lovely passer and technician but if he’s not playing to Kane’s strengths then the whole team suffer,” he added.
The 30-year-old has been accustomed to playing a slightly deeper role as he is drawing closer to the twilight years of his career. A striker by trade, Rooney has been often utilised as a number 10 or as a holding midfielder due to his lack of pace.
In Sunday’s game against Slovakia, the Manchester United man was played in a deep-lying midfield role and that affected the complexion of the entire game. The Three Lions failed to make things happen and posed absolutely no threat in an and around the 18-yard-area.
In fact, it took them over ninety minutes to find the back of the net as Adam Lallana scored an impressive left-footed goal in the final minutes of the contest to seal the points for his side. But he and the entire England squad knew that it was far from a convincing performance by them.
After the match English head-coach Sam Allardyce stated that Rooney is free to play in any position he preferred. He believed that the 30-year-old controlled the midfield perfectly and put in an impressive performance.
However, due to Rooney’s deeper positioning, Harry Kane struggled for support in the final third and failed to wreak havoc in the opposition penalty area. Rooney rarely supplemented the attack as he failed to register a single touch in Slovakia’s box.
Thus, it is important that Allardyce brings out the best in his captain and plays him in an advanced position rather than giving him the freedom to roam all over the field.