How should Capello utilise Rooney?


The week started with the temperament and temper of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney being questioned. As expected the snarling, steam coming from the ears Rooney was absent when the big game arrived. Perhaps a bigger question for Fabio Capello to answer is how to utilise Rooney?

Rooney played okay, nothing more nothing less. The performance however was not the Rooney we all witnessed during the 2009/10 season. A Rooney which swa his name mentioned in the same breath amongst the top players in the world.

As expected Heskey lined up alongside Rooney and to be fair he proved me wrong by being one of England’s better players. His link up play was impressive and provided the assist for Steven Gerrard’s goal. Perhaps justifiable some will point to the opportunity Heskey missed; personally I’m less critical as all strikers miss chances. There is no guarantee another player would have scored, although there would be greater confidence if Rooney had a similar opportunity.

Rooney played the majority of match in a deep central position and occasionally drifted onto the left wing. Rooney has always had the tendency of drifting to left when he plays as the deeper striker. This is a reason (not the sole reason, also to accommodate Ronaldo) why Sir Alex Ferguson has previously selected him as a left winger. Last season Rooney was at his best when he played closer to the opposition’s penalty area. When Fergie decided to use a 4-4-2 formation, Berbatov played the deeper role allowing Rooney to lead the forward line.

Rooney has to lead the line in a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation. Unfortunately for Heskey he misses out, which is perhaps harsh considering his performance against the USA. The England manager is however a stickler for the 4-4-2 formation so is a change likely during a World Cup? Perhaps not. If Capello continues with the 4-4-2 formation Rooney has to play the furthest forward with Gerrard as the deep lying striker.

Where do you think the Man United star should line up?

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  1. Avatar

    Good Post-Id have to agree with you, Rooney needs to be playing furthest forward.Heskey played well enough but he is no world class striker I cant think of another striker that misses as many chances as him….You would think Capelo would build his team around Rooney and this season at United its showen 4-5-1 has worked very well-England have the players for the formation

    Johnson King Terry Cole
    Lennon Lampard Barry Gerrard Cole

    Only early days though so lets see what happens-I just hope and pray Fergie isnt thinking Heskey for United!

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    well i noticed last nite. england has no one to cross a ball. the only one is glen johonson and he plays rigt back janmes milner cant cross a ball his more of midfielder . shane right phillps takes on players but his fianl deilvery is shocking. lenonn jiust takes on palyer as well with paste other than nothing else to offer. my piont is must of rooney goals were sored from headers last season and few tap in from cross. he has great at united , with nani and velencia our brilant of crossing the ball laying it on to his head. england do not have that surive. thats why joe cole has to star the next ganme he is a great crooser of the ball or you can mover gerrad out to left he has a deacent delivery of a crooss.

  3. Avatar
    Jason Freeman on

    I think everyone in the country knows the way England should play yet a man who’s being paid £6m a year to not know is a bit odd. I was realing last night, absolutely livid (and i’m not even english). When Ronaldo was at United it made a bit of sense to put Rooney out left, but when you’ve got the likes of Heskey and Crouch playing upfront ahead of him, you’ve got to wonder why, when Rooney had his best goalscoring season so far by playing further up the pitch and yet he decides to have him deeper and out wide when in qualifying he played him where he was playing for United. Why change it? Why change a winning formula? The only good thing I will say about it is at least we’re talking about it now instead of further on in the competition. I’ll be surprised if we’re still talking about this by Friday night…

  4. Avatar

    Yet another piece overlooking Rooney’s many deficiencies and lack of contribution against defenses that are prepared to harry and harass him out of games. The only way to play Rooney is as second banana to the kind of world class striker England doesn’t have, a big, rangy and pacy player along the likes of a Drogba who can more than hold his own against today’s tall and pacy central defenders while Rooney picks up the pieces left on the fringe. But playing two strikers also requires a strong midfield, and the fact is, as everyone knows, Stevie G and Lampard cannot play together in a cohesive partnership that best utilizes their individual skill sets. Yesterday was a prime example. Gerrard had a decent game, while Lampard was largely anonymous.

    Rooney has neither the physical presence or stature to make his presence known against good central defenders, nor the skill set to make something out of nothing for himself. By his very presence on the field he makes it particularly difficult for his manager to play him effectively, as he’s a second striker by nature and physique who can’t form effective partnerships with other decent strikers, hence his partnership with a lame duck like Heskey. Yet neither can he play effectively as a single striker up front due to his obvious lack of size and strength.

    This highly over-rated player (and I say this as a United fan of 40 years standing) is almost entirely reliant on the talent and contribution of those around him, wingers who deliver crosses on a plate for him or midfielders who scythe through defenders and set up tap ins for his boot. Game after game the guy becomes an anonymous and frustrated figure on the field, eventually running all over the pitch trying to get into the game somehow, yet up he pops for five minutes and all is forgiven by press and fans alike, especially if he happens to put one is as the focal point for the efforts of ten other players.

    Cast your mind back on his much lauded season for United and you’d be hard pressed thinking of many goals Rooney made for himself, or any that were scored from and great distance from the goal – any further than ten yards away and his scattergun approach generally sees the ball go sailing happily over the net. He’s one of the great wastrels of modern football, and is often the reason promising forays forward by United break down as he invariably loses possession to a determined defender or puts on an asinine pass that goes nowhere. And let’s not even mention how often his much lauded determination to help out in defense leads to the opposition regaining possession close to United’s goal and mounting dangerous and sometimes costly attacks.

    In sum total Rooney is all huff and puff football, all attitude and belligerent running, with neither the touch, the vision, or the presence to really take a game by the scruff of the neck and make it his own. The Messi’s and Kaka’s and Torres’ of this world have the ability to do that for their sides – not Rooney. He has to be brought into a game by the efforts of others.

    One of these days people will wake up the emperor’s clothes situation with the United striker, and see him for what he is – a decent striker who’s main attributes are his energy and determination, – not much else.

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    @ Stretford End Arising Im sure your right-You never know though-who would of thought a year ago Owen would score the winning goal against City for us!
    Notice we are linked with Ballack today not sure what to think on that one-I think he is abit too old but when you have scholes nev and giggs in the squad age is proving not to be an issue.

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    i herd that to were linked with ballack. it does make sence realy we have no money so why not sing players on free gallas is on a free. vidc does go would he be a good replacement. all right he is injury prone but he would be good cover for rio.

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    @ Timbo Ive never read such rubbish-You sound like a blue.40 years of watching football and you still cant spot class.Give up save yourself some money.

    Now clearly if:-
    Messi is saying he wants to play with him.
    Cyruff is saying he is an amazing talent.
    Morinho is saying he would love to manage him.
    Then either these blokes should pack there bags or you need to get along to spec savers.

    Rooney is in the top 5 players in the world-Making him a world class player at 24-Not even at his peak and im sure will go on to be voted 2nd best player in the world by his peers this year.Not bad for a player you describe as
    “all huff and puff football, all attitude and belligerent running, with neither the touch, the vision, or the presence to really take a game by the scruff of the neck”

    This season Rooney was told to stay in the box-His shoulders would carry the burden of getting our goals-So what did he do?! 34 goals not bad for what you say
    “Yet neither can he play effectively as a single striker up front due to his obvious lack of size and strength”
    Hmm no strength-ok and Messi cant dribble and Ronaldo is as fast as a donkey

    Football is all about opinions and everyone is entitled to there own-Just a shame In the 40 years you have been watching football you really haven’t learnt anything which makes your opinion worthless

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