Glenn Hoddle believes that there is no chance Wayne Rooney will be dropped for England’s World Cup opener against Italy, and that those calling for that are talking “nonsense”.
The Manchester United forward looks in line to operate just off of Daniel Sturridge in an advanced midfield role in Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions XI, and is widely seen as the squad’s most talented performer.
However his form has been patchy of late, with his display against Peru in last week’s final friendly on home soil ahead of the tournament having opened him up for much criticism.
Some pundits and fans have called for Rooney to be dropped after failing to live up to his undoubted talent at previous major competitions, but Hoddle feels that doing so would be a bad move and that Hodgson won’t make such a mistake:
“Drop Wayne Rooney for the World Cup? What a load of nonsense!” he wrote in his column for the London Evening Standard.
“Critics have been knocking him non-stop in the build-up to Brazil — leave him out, he’s no longer at his best, he doesn’t fit into the system, he doesn’t blend with Daniel Sturridge — but Roy Hodgson won’t fall for any of that.
“Let me make it clear — England do not have anyone else with the quality of Rooney to replace him for their World Cup opener against Italy.
“When Rooney is at his best, he is sheer class and I am convinced he can make the difference to this England team. When Rooney hits top form he is some handful but even if he is near top form he’s a handful.
“If he were benched for the game in Manaus a week on Saturday, the Italians would be the only ones relishing his demise. They would be overjoyed.
It won’t happen. Hodgson is far too astute to fall for any of this rubbish and there’s no way I’m jumping on the drop-Rooney bandwagon. Roy plans to pick Rooney and he has every faith in the player.”