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Gary Lim
Friday, Jun 6, 2014

Sports

World Cup: Play Roon behind Sturridge

The New Paper | Gary Lim | Friday, Jun 6, 2014

England's Daniel Sturridge.

Like it or not, the obsession with Wayne Rooney rages on.

The latest episode had England greats Sir Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker weighing in with their opinions on how Rooney, England's best striker of his generation, should be deployed in Brazil.

Charlton, the star of England's 1966 World Cup triumph - their only major trophy to date - can't imagine Roy Hodgson not using Rooney as his main striker.

Lineker, though, feels Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has done enough to guarantee himself the No. 9 role.

Opinions vary, like how England fans were so divided on how to fit Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in the same team.

But dropping Rooney altogether will be a huge mistake.

One poor outing in a friendly against Peru, when he is not even fully match-fit yet, is no reason for a knee-jerk reaction.

The only question is where Hogdson should deploy Rooney, not whether the Manchester United striker still has a place in a young England side.

Sturridge, confident from a successful Premier League season with Liverpool for whom he scored 21 goals in 29 league matches, should get the nod as the centre forward for the Three Lions.

His form, as seen in his excellent goal against Peru, makes him the strongest candidate for that position.

The 24-year-old has the explosive burst of speed to turn the last defender, and a single-mindedness to his game that makes him a wonderful weapon in the penalty box.

FAVOURITE POSITION

He thrived for Liverpool whenever his manager Brendan Rodgers played him as the furthest man forward.

It will therefore be absurd to move him out of a position where he is going to be most effective, and has proven to be.

But Sturridge's inclusion in the England side doesn't turn Rooney into a redundancy. Far from it.

As Man United laboured through a difficult campaign, Rooney was one of their better players.

Even under those difficult circumstances, the 28-year-old knocked in 17 goals, a mark that puts him joint-fourth in the Premiership top-scorers' chart, and only four goals behind Sturridge.

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