Peter Schmeichel believes Wayne Rooney can be a success in midfield and has what it takes to change games on his own.
The Manchester United and England captain has dropped progressively deeper on the field since he played as an out-and-out striker for club and country.
The entire England team are in for some close attention in the media over the next couple of months with their performances and shortcomings being dissected by every pundit and analyst in the business.
Man United’s former goalkeeper, however, does think Rooney can be replicate Paul Scholes in the midfield role.
“I love Rooney in midfield. I’ve said this on many occasions,” he said.
“He could be the key and the difference between success and failure for England, he’s so important.
“I started to say it two years ago about him going into midfield and the funny thing about Twitter is you can gauge people’s reactions straight away.. ‘What the hell are you talking about?!’
“But Rooney can play the same role as Paul Scholes used to play, he’s developed the engine to get up and down and is getting better and better. To have someone with his ball skills, his vision in the game, to run the game, he sees stuff that no-one else sees.
“He’s got those very long shifts when he can hit the ball 40 yards, hits them to a tee so the player can work with them. He can still score goals. I think he’s developing into a midfield player, his mindset is still like a striker but he thinks in order to play midfield then he has to tame some of those instincts.He’s thinking: ‘I used to shoot, but I’m a midfield player now.”
There has not been an English player, apart from perhaps Raheem Sterling, who has undergone such scrutiny at Euro 2016 as Rooney. United’s all-time leading scorer might be used to it at this stage with his every move analysed at Old Trafford last year too.
There seems to be a collective waiting for the versatile attacker to combust and head off to America where he will likely finish his career. Perhaps it is the result of being so successful and while it appears he is in the winter of his footballing life, he has been in for some unnecessary abuse on many platforms.
With 115 England caps to his name and 53 goals in those games, United’s captain has been an excellent servant for club and country.