• World Cup 2014

Scholes: England must play Rooney up front

ESPN staff
June 15, 2014
Wayne Rooney has been heavily criticised for his performance against Italy © Getty Images

Former England midfielder Paul Scholes believes Roy Hodgson must use Wayne Rooney in a more central position in order to get the best out of him.

Rooney played on the left during England's 2-1 defeat to Italy on Saturday and was criticised for his lack of influence, something Hodgson is perplexed by.

The Manchester United striker set up Daniel Sturridge's equaliser for England but was guilty of missing an excellent opportunity in the second half as well as suffering the indignity of taking a much-derided corner kick.

However, Scholes insists that the problem was not Rooney, but the position he was forced to occupy and he has urged Hodgson to start him up front in England's next Group D game against Uruguay.

"The disappointing thing was not the way Wayne Rooney played but where he was played," said Scholes.

"I've previously said the best position for Wayne is centre forward. If you think about the contenders at the World Cup and goalscorers, Holland play Robin van Persie in his best position, Brazil play Neymar where he wants to play, Argentina with Lionel Messi, Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I don't blame Wayne one little bit but he was played in three different positions. He's without a doubt England's best goalscorer but he was played on the left, played on the right, then in the centre.

"Where's the confidence in Wayne to say: 'You're our main player. You're our centre forward'? If he plays there, he scores goals.''

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