England finds themselves in one of the more favorable groups in Group D, but without star attacker Wayne Rooney on the pitch the Three Lions will need to claw their way to the knockout stage.
As football most fans are surely aware, the English playmaker has been suspended for the first two games of the tournament.
Rooney will miss his team's first two matches against both France and Sweden, only able to participate in England's third game against the Ukraine.
While the Three Lions may have an abundance of talent, whenever your best player is on the sidelines the road to the finals becomes a more challenging one. England is hoping that Rooney's Manchester United teammate Ashley Young can replicate the performance and production of No. 10.
Coach Roy Hodgson believes Young can be a fine stop-gap, explaining to Rob Harris of the Associated Press:
"Young has got in good positions, as we wanted him to do. We feel that, like with Wayne Rooney, Ashley is at his best when he gets behind the midfield and in front of the back players."
As Harris noted in his article, the former Aston Villa player has had himself an impressive run with the national team as of late, either assisting in or scoring the last 20 goals for England.
That all being said, Rooney is the player fans and teammates alike look to for that extra confidence when on the ropes, who the nation looks to when the Three Lions need another goal to clinch a fixture. He's the lifeblood of the English squad.
Young, while almost as talented as the man he'll be replacing, does not give the same intangibles as his United teammate to this squad.
Any fan or past teammate is aware that Rooney will likely be pacing the sidelines and dying to get on the pitch, as Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo told the Daily Mirror:
"Knowing him as I do I think he will be going up the walls! But the rules are well known and there isn’t much you can do about it."
The good news for England is that they don't find themselves in "the group of death" or anything like that. In fact, Group D is probably the weakest in the tournament. The key will be if the English can defeat arch rival France in their first bout.
If Young and company can defeat France, than England can easily tie or beat Sweden, which would put the England in the best position heading into Rooney's Euro 2012 debut.
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