Wayne Rooney: England Would've Won 'Everything' with a Coach Like Pep Guardiola

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2019

DC United midfielder and former England captain Wayne Rooney speaks during a press conference at Pride Park Stadium in Derby on August 6, 2019 after Rooney agreed a deal to become a player-coach. - Former England captain Wayne Rooney is to leave Washington-based DC United after agreeing a deal to become player-coach of English Championship side Derby County. The 33-year-old -- the record goalscorer for both his country and Manchester United -- signed an 18-month contract with the second-tier side, who under Rooney's former England teammate Frank Lampard reached the play-off final last season. (Photo by Darren STAPLES / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DARREN STAPLES/AFP/Getty Images)
DARREN STAPLES/Getty Images

Former England striker Wayne Rooney says the Three Lions would have won "everything" if they'd had a manager like Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola in charge when he broke into the team.

Per ESPN UK, Rooney said as much on the Wayne Rooney Podcast:

Rooney, who became the nation's all-time top scorer in 2015, broke into the England team as a teenager in 2003 under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

He and his team-mates were dubbed the "Golden Generation."

Football.London's Greg Johnson felt Ashley Cole stood out among them:

Cole arguably may have been the only one who was the best in his position in the world, but England could name a first XI stacked with top-class talent, players who won countless trophies in their hugely successful club careers.

They failed to make a significant impact on the international stage, though, under Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello.

After reaching the quarter-final stages of the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, England were knocked out of the competition in the round of 16 in 2010.

The Three Lions also reached the last eight of the UEFA European Champions in 2004 and failed to qualify for the 2008 edition.

Although international management is a different game to club football, where it's perhaps easier to implement a philosophy on a squad by working with them daily, a manager of Guardiola's quality would likely have coaxed more from such a talented generation of players.

The Spaniard has won a combined eight league titles with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, along with two UEFA Champions Leagues and a number of other honours.

Capello also had a superb CV filled with top-level titles, but much of his success as a coach came in the 1990s, and the players did not appear to respond particularly well to his autocratic style.

Guardiola, on the other hand, is one of the most influential coaches of modern times and has repeatedly shown he can take an excellent player and raise their game further still.

England have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes in recent years under Gareth Southgate, who guided them to the semi-finals of the World Cup last year—the first time they've reached the final four since 1990—and the UEFA Nations League this year.

Although individually there is perhaps not quite as much talent available as England possessed in Rooney's early days, the Three Lions have shown they can begin competing again at the top level.  

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