Euro 2016: Wayne Rooney best suited as striker, says Steve McManaman

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Wayne Rooney's position in the England team has been much debated with the Three Lions skipper playing in a more midfield role in their Euro 2016 opener on Saturday. However, former England midfielder Steve McManaman said the Manchester United captain is best suited as a striker.

Steve McManaman
Steve McManaman

Manager Roy Hodgson's ploy of starting with young Harry Kane upfront failed to yield result after England finished 1-1 against Russia on Saturday.

Russia's skipper Vasili Berezutski headed in a late equaliser in the second minute of injury-time to cancel out Eric Dier's goal from a free kick in the 73rd minute of their opening encounter.

"Rooney's been playing in a largely holding midfield role for Manchester United, but his best role is still a number 10 position. England are blessed with having a lot of players in attacking position. Dele Alli this year has come into the fold and of course Kane is playing well.

England skipper Wayne Rooney controls the ball during their opening Euro 2016 clash against Russia on Saturday. Pic/AFP
England skipper Wayne Rooney controls the ball during their opening Euro 2016 clash against Russia on Saturday. Pic/AFP

"Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge are the other options. So, I think Rooney will play in a midfield role alongside Alli and probably Jack Willshere, but I still like him as an attacking man. A number 10," said the former Real Madrid and Liverpool winger, who is an expert panelist for ESPN FC.

The 44-year-old felt Hodgson's squad is no different from that of his predecessors. "I don't think this England team is any different from the teams of the past. The current team have the same type of players. The manager appears to play with the same formation that former teams have been using," said McManaman, who became the first English player to win the Champions League twice.

The current England squad boasts of highly talented youngsters in Marcus Rashford (18), Raheem Sterling (21), Alli (20) and Kane (21) and McManaman, who represented England 35 times, felt they should be handled with care.

"Rashford has just exploded on the scene in the last few months and has been like a breath of fresh air. You just hope that they use him rightly and don't burn him out. Sterling's got a lot to prove. He wasn't chosen in the big games for Man City, so it's a huge tournament for him," he said.

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