The first press conference by new England manager was always going to thorough up some interesting possibilities. It didn’t fail to disappoint, unlike the manager who reached late on the first day of his job. There were a lot of speculations regarding the national team after Sam Allardyce was appointed to lead his nation into the World Cup qualifying rounds and if successful, to Russia in 2018. One player’s future has been the subject of constant scrutiny since the last few months at both the club level as well as national level. After a disappointing exit from the Euros at the hands of unfancied Iceland, there were numerous views being given about the reasons of failure.
The position of Rooney in particular ignited much debate in the tournament and then in the aftermath of England’s defeat. With the likes of Dele Alli, Jack Wilshere and Eric Dier providing ample quality in the midfield, Rooney’s best position was still up for question in the public domain. For the player concerned though, all was settled.After returning a four month lay-off in February, Roney was deployed in a deep midfield role by Louis Van Gaal.
Tough times ahead for skipper Rooney under Allardyce?
It was a solution that worked out seemingly well for both the player and the manager as Van Gaal was able to accommodate his club captain in the team thereby avoiding the questions of his drop to the bench while having the chance to play far more exciting forwards like Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in the attack. After an injury suffered by Martial in the warm-up prior to the beginning of a match, Van Gaal revealed that Rooney shrugged at the idea of playing in the striker role.The club captain had come to see the deep midfield position as his ideal spot and expected to play out the rest of his playing career there. At the national team, Rooney managed to get his way.
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Forcing the then boss Roy Hodgson to deploy him in his favoured role, Rooney managed to stitch some good passes. His performances were inconsistent but the former Everton man was unfazed. In an interview to journalists during the Euros, he had declared his desire to play in his desired role in the future. That was before the waves of change that swept the Three Lions as well as Red Devils. With Manchester United instilling Jose Mourinho as Van Gaal’s successor, his first press conference contained the question regarding Wayne Rooney’s role. The manager’s response wasn’t the one Rooney hoped. Extremely clear that he didn’t see Rooney play in the deep-lying role at Man Utd, he was earmarked as a No 10. A message of sorts was also send out to a player and a kind of challenge too. Adjust or perish. Jose Mourinho has already accelerated the demise of playing career of Iker Casillas during his time at Real Madrid.To expect anything different at Manchester United if Rooney doesn’t step-up would be foolhardy.
At the national level, things weren’t any different. Sam Allardyce wasn’t too forthcoming on Rooney’s role in the national team. Neither Big Sam made any guarantees about his captaincy nor did he specify the role he envisaged for the current skipper in his set-up. His suggestion of taking a cue from Mourinho regarding Rooney’s best position in the team wouldn’t have been music to his ears. Rooney’s future is turning out to be an intriguing prospect. If he fails to adapt to systems of both the managers at Club and Country, there would be a huge uncertainty surrounding him and his place. To succeed is the only option that he faces the upcoming summer. To think of anything else will not be an option that he will be afforded by Mourinho and Allardyce.