Paddy Power

Paul Scholes exclusive on England v Italy: The disappointing thing was not the way Wayne Rooney played but where he was played

The former midfielder gives his verdict on England's result against Italy in their World Cup opening game in Manaus and highlights the performances of Barkley and Sterling

by Paul Scholes | June 15, 2014

I didn’t think we’d beat Italy, but that was an encouraging performance from England despite the 2-1 defeat. There were many positives from the game – the final ball was lacking quality but we should have little to fear from Costa Rica or Uruguay who are shocking defensively.

We still didn’t take enough care of Andrea Pirlo, which was obvious. He ran the show, especially in the first half when Italy needed him to (67 passes).

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney for England – this is his tournament to step up

Raheem Sterling did very well for England and went past the opposition impressively, but his final pass wasn’t up to standard. Maybe it was inexperience, or tiredness, and he will get better. Other positives for me were that Ross Barkley looked strong when he came on, and Daniel Sturridge was lively too.

The disappointing thing was not the way Wayne Rooney played but where he was played. 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 RVP in his best position. Brazil play Neymar where he wants to play, Argentina with Messi, Portugal with 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 (his record in qualifying showed that: seven goals). 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.

Wayne will play anywhere he’s asked. He’s not a moaner or a sulker but it was glaringly obviously there was a massive problem down that left-hand side against Italy. Candreva in particular was stunning and Darmian really hurt England.

I thought we took Danny Welbeck off too soon (maybe he was injured) but my feeling is there is plenty to come from these players.

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  1. marley said on June 15, 2014 @ 1:47 am

    Wellbeck probably taken off because Roy lacked the courage to take off Rooney.

  2. Anonymous said on June 15, 2014 @ 1:54 am

    No Man Utd bias here at all. Sturridge is currently our best candidate for centre forward and he did score, so really question is play Rooney at Number 10 or not at all.

  3. Anonymous said on June 15, 2014 @ 1:56 am

    To be fair, you say “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.” The past two World Cups was when we had the confidence, both in which he hasn’t scored! Would be my argument. And Daniel Sturridge who scored almost double than Wayne this season has been put in and scored straight off the bat. I know you played with him and admire him, but there comes a time when you’ve got to be decisive and drop him!

  4. Richard said on June 15, 2014 @ 2:45 am

    I agree with most that Rooney is passed his best but where’s the balance. Gerrard was anonymous. If it where not for a free kick or two you wouldn’t have known that he was a part of this match. Henderson, was ineffective and Johnson is useless at the job he must do first, defend.
    And whats with Sturridge, Sterling and Cahill getting muscle cramps. Sad!

  5. doug said on June 15, 2014 @ 8:25 am

    pirlos free kick was highlight of WC so far.theres no substitute for class

  6. Emmy said on June 15, 2014 @ 8:35 am

    I probably think its time to stop criticizing wayne and think of the best way to move the engand team forward.he has never bn a wing player,if a good manager wants d best off his star players,he start by playing them in their main positin,wayne shouldn’t be an exception.

  7. Anonymous said on June 15, 2014 @ 9:57 am

    Whatever way you look at the match,it was glaringly obvious that once again Rooney failed to deliver on the big stage and England tired and seemed to run out of ideas in the last half hour of the match.
    Previous to the last half hour of the match,I thought that Sturridge and Sterling looked very sharp and Gerrard looked like his best days were behind him.

  8. Danny said on June 15, 2014 @ 10:12 am

    I really wanted Rooney to step up in this tournament but yet again he disappointed. If the Ox is fit for the next game he should start ahead of him as he’d offer much more than Rooney does in that particular role.

    Let’s be honest though, we’re going to finish bottom with no points but still take ‘positives’ from it, we’re not good enough and this is about to be shown.

  9. JOSEPH said on June 15, 2014 @ 10:14 am

    Once again Rooney failed badly to deliver on the big stage and Gerrard looks like a player well past his best.
    Sturridge and Sterling looked sharp for the first hour of the match but they faded badly after that.
    Not England’s worst World Cup performance by a mile and a few fresh faces might see an imprvement.

  10. Rob said on June 15, 2014 @ 10:43 am

    IF Rooney scores his chance,game ends 2-2….press response would be different.Game of small margins.

  11. john" Eagles" said on June 15, 2014 @ 11:04 am

    No cover down the wing pass quicke get Rooney in the middle

  12. maf120276 said on June 15, 2014 @ 11:08 am

    I agree Rooney should be played up front. I am not obsessed with formations, as a team may play all manner of formations during a game. It’s how we adapt to the opposition. England played a so called 4-2-3-1? The mentality of the players made it look 4-2-4, this exposed England time and again out wide, especially England’s left. I found it interesting how Brendan Rogers adopted the 4-2-3-1, then later changed to a 4-4-2 diamond midfield. Perhaps England too could utilise this tactic, giving Gerrard an extra target for one of his accurate raking passes, an extra midfield cover for a full back and at the tip of the diamond, Barkley, Sterling or Lallana roaming into space allowing Rooney to drop or run the line?

  13. richie said on June 15, 2014 @ 11:59 am

    thought this was a ENGLAND team, not manliverton, 8 scouce plays in, wot do you exspect ? and wot a dick that Leighton baines geezer is,

  14. Paul Scholes disappointed about where Wayne Rooney played v Italy, not how Man United striker performed | The football blogs by BetPowers said on June 15, 2014 @ 12:17 pm

    […] Scholes has once again spoken about Rooney in the aftermath of England’s 2-1 defeat to Italy on Saturday, in a blog on the Paddy Power website. […]

  15. OAFC said on June 16, 2014 @ 2:47 am

    Scholesy, you could have been OUR Pirlo in the last 2/3 world cups!

  16. Farid said on June 16, 2014 @ 5:55 am

    Wayne lost his momentum. Its okay to bring him in as a sub for Sturridge. Play him as a lone striker up front. Sterling, Barkley should start. Gerrard to do much in midfield, defensively. Baines is pathetic. Johnson is clueless. Need pressing in the play, which was absolutely missing. We miss you Scholesy !

  17. bob said on June 16, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

    anon who is claiming Rooney was fit and had all the confidence put in him in the last 2 world cups seem to have forgotten that this is actually his first and only fit world cup campaign of his career.

    Fractured his metatarsal in his right foot just before the 2006 world cup.
    Sprained and damaged his ankle so badly he left the stadium in crutches and had to wear a protective cast. Was not even close to being fit during the 2010 world cup.

  18. WORLD CUP: Lionel Messi scores amazing goal | Today News Portal said on June 16, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

    […] though where he was played,” Rooney’s former teammate Paul Scholes wrote in his mainstay for Paddy Power […]

  19. Dean said on June 18, 2014 @ 7:57 am

    Not much sense in this entry tbh.

    Pirlo did no more than would be expected of an experienced midfielder – looking at it objectively, his only meaningful contribution was a dummy for the first goal.

    Players like Welbeck, Smalling, Baines, Jones, Jagielka and Johnson show the limitations of this squad. Over-reliance on has-beens like Gerrard and Rooney will ultimately cost England.

    What effect does making Rooney undroppable have on the rest of the team? Form-wise, Sturridge is better than Rooney at no 9, Sterling is impressive at no 10 and on the right, and Lallana is much better than Rooney on the left. I would rather have Welbeck, Barkley, Ox, or even WIlshere at no 10 than a desperately over-rated and out-of-form Rooney [who has a salary 3+ times that of Lallana].

    Best team selection doesnt mean best players but best combination.

  20. Paul Mallon said on June 18, 2014 @ 8:59 am

    Little harsh on Pirlo. His pass completion rate was massive. Also, his beard was stunning.

  21. Does Hodgson Need to Ring Some Changes On Thursday? | Total Football Madness said on June 18, 2014 @ 9:39 am

    […] He wrote in his column, “The disappointing thing was not the way Wayne Rooney played but where he was played. […]

  22. malcolm post said on June 18, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

    Most of you are missing the point,whats the problem with the front forward players switching places ,causing the defence all sorts of problems,especially the ones comfortable with two feet.
    Also if the F.A. had the gumption to allow Roy Hodgson to just take the talented youngsters that we have in the country,as a learning exercise,because every one in their own mind knows that we would ever win this World Cup.

  23. Joey C said on June 19, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

    Barkley is key

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