Wayne Rooney is set to be restored to the starting line-up for England’s high-profile World Cup Qualifying match with Scotland this evening, with the skipper having previously been left out of the clash with Slovenia last month.
The nation’s all-time leading goalscorer is facing a difficult time for club and country as he struggles to find his role with both, no longer being the world-class striker he used to be, but he continues to get opportunities with Manchester United and the Three Lions.
Southgate believes that Rooney has impressed since the last training squad he participated in with England and is quoted by
ESPN as stating the veteran can provide the difference in tonight’s clash.
“It’s game time, as much as anything. He had two 90 minutes last week, scored and had two assists. To my mind, even in his training, he looks freer in his mind, evening in training. That is an important place to be in order to perform … I think a night like Friday will be perfect for him.”
“Class is permanent, isn’t it? We all have moments as players where you have runs of games. Part of being a player is grinding out the difficult moments. There are matches and periods where you know you are not at your best. Then there are other games where things are happening more naturally. To me he looks like he is just heading into that period. That is great for us.”
Southgate fell short of revealing exactly where in the side Rooney will feature but there’s sure to be negative comments either way, with the midfield experiment failing and England now possessing better options up front.
However, with Harry Kane only just returning from injury and Jamie Vardy in a poor vein of form, tonight could be Rooney’s chance to stake his claim to be England’s leading forward once again.