• England

Gerrard and Hodgson dismiss Scholes' Rooney claim

ESPN staff
May 30, 2014
Danny Welbeck says Wayne Rooney is key to England

England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Steven Gerrard have dismissed Paul Scholes' claim that Wayne Rooney may be past his peak.

Last week, Scholes said that Manchester United striker Rooney has already entered into decline.

The former midfielder's comments led to a debate over whether Rooney should start for England at the World Cup, with Daniel Sturridge also pushing for a starting role following a fine season for Liverpool.

'England should play like Liverpool'

Paul Scholes has some words of advice for England manager Roy Hodgson © Getty Images
  • In his latest Paddy Power blog, Paul Scholes has said "it would be refreshing for England to adopt Liverpool's attacking mentality in Brazil".
  • He added: "They should really go for it. That means certainly four, and possibly five, Liverpool players in the England starting XI against Italy on June 14.
  • "South Africa in 2010 was so negative with boring draws. Nothing seemed to happen. England fans, and myself as an England fan, would rather three-all games than dull, nil-nil draws. I'd love to see Roy be brave enough to play like Liverpool - United teams of the past.
  • "The thing I admired most [about Liverpool] was the swagger of their play and how they terrorised opponents, which reminded me of United at their best."

But Gerrard backed his England team-mate. He said: "Paul Scholes is wrong. Wayne's been Manchester United's best player at home and in Europe.

"He's been in terrific form. What I've seen from his performances in the United team, his form has been really positive.

"He's in a better frame of mind going into this tournament than he's had going into previous tournament, when he's had injuries."

Hodgson, meanwhile, has said he would consider dropping Rooney, following suggestions that the forward's reputation could precede him.

He said: "I'd like to think that, as a manager for a long time, I have the capacity to make the decisions that are necessary.

"Secondly, of course I don't think Wayne's past his best. I've selected him in a 23-man squad that I'm very proud of. I believe in Wayne Rooney. He's still a young man.

"My third point is, if I'm going to have to comment and defend people or challenge opinions, I'm going to be a very busy man at this World Cup.

"Maybe the next one is Franz Beckenbauer or Pele. Who knows? If I'm going to answer every criticism from people worthy of that opinion, I'll be busy."

Hodgson also backed Rooney and Daniel Sturridge to click in Brazil, despite having not played together regularly before.

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