Former England international striker James Beattie believes that Roy Hodgson should have stuck with Raheem Sterling in a central role rather than shifting his XI to accommodate Wayne Rooney against Uruguay.

The Three Lions were impressive in their opening defeat to Italy, with the teenage Liverpool man having been used in the role he starred in at club level over the latter half of last season.

But in order for him to play there, Rooney was pushed out onto the left flank, in a move that is rumoured to have frustrated the 28-year-old.

‘Wazza’ is widely seen as England’s top talent, but his performance on the flank was met with criticism, to which Hodgson responded by moving into his preferred central role with Sterling on the wing for the second game – which resulted in a competition-ending loss.

Beattie – who won five international caps – feels that the decision to do so was a poor one, and that the 19-year-old was not used properly by his manager:

“I think the decision to move Wayne Rooney into the middle after the first game [was wrong] because I thought Raheem Sterling had a brilliant game against Italy.” He told talkSPORT.

“He was very effective and being a manager he should have stuck to that and maybe not bowed to the pressure from the press and everyone saying [Rooney should play in the middle].

“If Rooney wasn’t effective out there [on the left] then he should have [dropped him and] brought someone else in because Sterling was probably our best player in the first game.”

Beattie also says that the young players should get their chance against Costa Rica:

“Shove them all in. They deserve an opportunity. Let’s give them some experience and see what they can do.”

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