David Beckham Insists Scary Wayne Rooney Must Play for England at World Cup

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2014

Former England captain David Beckham, left, greets England's Wayne Rooney, right, following the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Germany and England at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Sunday, June 27, 2010. Germany defeated England 4-1, thereby advancing to the quarterfinals. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Michael Sohn/Associated Press

Former England captain David Beckham has publicly backed Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney in England's quest for World Cup glory, saying the attacker "scares" any opposition he plays against.

Beckham was quoted by Shaun Custis of the Sun (subscription required) defending the under-fire player. He said:

"I’d always back Wazza as he’s a great talent and when opposing teams see Wayne’s name on a team-sheet, that scares them."

BBC Radio 4 editor Nick Sutton tweeted the Sun's back page:

Oliver Holt of the Mirror also reported on Beckham's praise of Rooney. Playing legend Paul Scholes recently questioned whether the United forward was past his best in a blog for Paddy Power, but Beckham said:

Scholesy knows Wayne as well and has been around him more than I have. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I thought Wayne was the shining light for United last season when the team struggled a bit.

It’s all about confidence with strikers, but Wazza has always been about more than just scoring goals. He’s a goalscorer, but he works hard for the team and that is what Wayne’s game has always been about. If he doesn’t score goals, he’s either assisting or creating something for the team. He is a creator as well as a scorer.

Every time he has stepped out in an England shirt, he has always given 110%. When Wazza turns up, he always gives everything.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09:  David Beckham (L) and Wayne Rooney of England applaud the fans at the end of the FIFA 2010 World Cup Group 6 Qualifying match between England and Croatia at Wembley Stadium on September 9, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Beckham's defence of Rooney was emphatic and is a shot in the arm for the player at a time when his place in the national team is being questioned.

Despite a horrendous season for Manchester United as a club, Rooney was still able to impress will solid statistics of his own.

Rooney scored 17 Premier League goals in 29 appearances last term, per Squawka, whist suffering with minor injury for spells during the campaign.

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

However, talkSPORT and Bleacher Report's Stan Collymore was sharp in his assessment of Rooney, saying the player is not in the bracket of the very best players in the world anymore.

Chisanga Malata of the Daily Star reports the former Liverpool forward saying:

Wayne Rooney’s role is probably a realistic point of contention and debate. He slows things down in the final third now, he doesn’t speed things up anymore. Barkley speeds things up, Wilshere speeds things up. Lallana does. Sterling does. I said the grinders will play for about 65 minutes then we’ll throw the kids on.

Wayne Rooney is now seen as an experienced grinder that Hodgson can rely on. He runs around and has work rate. Wayne Rooney is not in this team to pull up trees and be the magical Messi, Ronaldo figure anymore, he’s gone.

Alan Diaz/Associated Press

Collymore is correct about Rooney, who no longer has the aura about him that he possessed in his younger days.

He does indeed slow the play down too much and his first touch has not improved since his teenage years.

England have relied on Rooney's stellar reputation for too long and it is time now to start working toward a new future for the country. 

Daniel Sturridge is England's most in-form striker, leaving Rooney to play at No. 10 or wide left. But with Ross Barkley looking every bit an impressive talent behind the point of the attack, it marginalises the justification for Rooney's inclusion even more.

Rooney has a role to play for England during this World Cup, but it might not be one that he finds favourable. 

Beckham cannot be expected to be openly negative about Rooney considering his now statesman-like role in football, but form dictates that Rooney's time as England's main man may be about to come to an end.