England managed to overcome Slovakia in their World Cup qualifier on Sunday thanks to a late goal from Adam Lallana. After the match, manager Sam Allardyce batted away questions about Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney’s position in the team.
Wayne Rooney became England’s most capped outfield player of all time after starting against Slovakia. He collected his 116th international cap, beating another Man United legend in David Beckham. The former striker played all around the midfield during the match, starting in the no. 10 role and then moving to the left before settling for a role in a deeper position.
Manager Sam Allardyce was questioned about this after the game, but the former Sunderland manager said he was in no position to question a player of Rooney’s caliber and experience.
“Wayne played wherever he wanted,” said Allardyce, according to The Guardian. “He was brilliant and controlled midfield. I can’t stop Wayne playing there.
“This is the most decorated outfield player in England. He’s won everything at Manchester United, at Champions League and domestic level. I think he holds a lot more experience at international football than I do as an international manager.
“So, when he is using his experience and playing as a team member, it’s not for me to say where he’s going to play.”
Wayne Rooney has become a divisive figure among fans and pundits in recent times. The United captain is England’s record goal scorer with 53 international goals and is also three goals short of overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton to become the Red Devils’ highest ever goal scorer.
However, Rooney is no longer the sprightly, quick attacker with a knack for pulling off the phenomenal that he once was. The 30-year-old recorded his lowest ever tally at Manchester United last season, scoring just eight Premier League goals. His place in the United team has been questioned by pundits, especially considering the squad depth that the club now have.
Despite the criticism, the new season has started on a good note for the Man United captain. He has a good turnover of two assists and one goal from the first three games. Most recently, he proved to be the difference for the Red Devils against a resilient Hull City side, providing a sublime assist for Marcus Rashford to score a late winner. It remains to be seen if Rooney can carry on in this form and silence his many critics.