Wayne Rooney's moment of madness in Montenegro resulted in a three-match ban from UEFA yesterday—meaning England will be without their best player for the group stages of Euro 2012 next summer (pending appeal).
The ruling leaves England coach Fabio Capello with a tough decision to make. Does he take Rooney to Poland and Ukraine with an eye on the knockout stages? Or leave him at home and focus on building a team capable of winning the tournament without him?
Here's Sam Wallace of the Independent outlining one of the potential arguments for leaving him out.
Chief among Capello's concerns will be that, if Manchester United do not make it to the Champions League or FA Cup final, then Rooney could well go from his club's last Premier League game against Sunderland on 13 May, to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 which begin on 21 June, potentially without starting a game.
You take him, of course you do. You can’t leave a player like Wayne Rooney at home, even if he is due to be banned for the group games. Squads of 23, including three goalkeepers, allow a coach room for one wild card...and Rooney is a wild card in every sense.
Capello has already said he'd won't start Rooney in next month's friendly against Spain on November 12th, a decision that will presumably also apply to the game now arranged against Sweden three days later. Speaking after Rooney's red card last Friday, the Italian's frustration was obvious.
Guys, I can't enter Wayne Rooney's head. I can speak before. I can substitute him. I can find different solutions. But, during a game, you cannot understand the reaction of the players or why things happen.
So where do you stand? Vote in the poll to have your say and we'll report the results early next week. If you're still on the fence, maybe some of these B/R articles can help you decide.