International Football logoInternational Football

England: What Should Roy Hodgson Do When Wayne Rooney Returns?

KRAKOW, POLAND - JUNE 13:  Wayne Rooney during an England training session during UEFA Euro 2012 on June 13, 2012 in Krakow, Poland.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Seth VictorContributor IIIJune 17, 2012

England goes into the final game of Group D tied at the top with France.  If the Three Lions can manage a draw with host Ukraine, they will be through to the knockout stage.

Helping England reach that goal will be star forward Wayne Rooney.  He will be returning from a two-game suspension and will deservedly march right back into the starting XI.  However, that means that manager Roy Hodgson must decide who to drop from a lineup that was unexpectedly prolific against Sweden.

Andy Carroll seems the obvious choice, as he is a true No. 9 who slotted in behind Danny Welbeck for much of the Sweden game.  But he scored a fantastic goal from the air, and given Ukraine’s weakness at the back, he may present more matchup challenges than Welbeck.

Welbeck, though, was extremely impressive in his own right.  He scored a truly remarkable goal to give England the win against Sweden, and he has the club experience of playing with Rooney at Manchester United to support his case.

Playing Rooney with Welbeck seems to make the most sense.  They complement each other well and Welbeck is more than capable of holding the ball up when Rooney drops deeper.

In addition, combining Welbeck with the quick Ashley Young makes England the most dangerous.  Rooney, Welbeck and Young are versatile and fast, causing problems for a Ukrainian side that has been suspect at the back. 

Yevhen Khacheridi and Yevgen Selin are physical, but have not demonstrated great quickness.  Presumably, Welbeck would be more able to take advantage of that.

Theo Walcott might also be dangerous, but Hodgson understandably prefers James Milner’s defensive solidity.

Pairing Rooney with Welbeck allows England to be dangerous without sacrificing the quickness that makes their midfield most dangerous.  Carroll could come on as early as halftime if Welbeck does not succeed, but giving Welbeck the start is the sound decision. 

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices