Rooney must be included regardless

With England comfortably qualifying for the Euros, the job is now on for Fabio Capello to assemble a squad of players that he feels is capable of winning the tournament in the summer. Ray Wilkins believes that the Italian needs to get the balance right and feels there are a lot of young players capable of making an impact:

“Tom Cleverley is the outstanding midfield talent. He was moving the ball very quickly with one-touch awareness, and he was doing exceptionally well before that nasty injury that he picked up. He has been the outstanding young midfield player this season. Rodwell is also a very talented young player who has the ability to perform box-to-box, while Jones will be a defender in the long term. I see him playing at centre half, but his versatility is always helpful. Of course, we should not forget Wilshere, who is an extremely talented young player.

“Capello will need to get the balance right between the young talent and the experienced players within his squad next summer. Young players provide that energy in midfield particularly, and that almost gay abandon which is very nice to see. You cannot have too many young players, because every top international side needs experience too.

“Danny Welbeck has looked exceptional this season, and he is certainly more consistent than either Sturridge or Walcott. Welbeck looks the one for me. It was another brilliant piece of management by Sir Alex to send the forward to Sunderland on loan, and that seems to have done him the world of good. He now looks to be a top, top player.”

One player who is likely to be a part of the squad is Wayne Rooney and Wilkins will have no hesitation in taking the United striker, regardless of whether his ban gets extended:

“Absolutely. I would take Wayne Rooney even if his ban was extended to four matches because of a frivolous appeal. It is hard to predict how long the ban will end up being, but I would take him regardless. Rooney is truly world class, and England cannot afford to not take him to Euro 2012. I would like to think that we can progress through from the group stages, and Rooney will be better for the freshness that he will have as a result of not playing in every game. So, of course, I would take him.

“Rooney is not perceived as England’s only world-class player abroad. Ashley Cole is most certainly world class, and Gerrard is also seen as that across Europe when he is fit. But Rooney is the one player that will be very much feared by other countries.”

For more insight from Ray Wilkins and other leading managers plus exclusive Premier League highlights go to