A “fixation” with Wayne Rooney could be counter-productive to England’s chances of qualifying for the second round of the World Cup, according to Frank Lampard.
Rooney’s form and role in the team has again become the central talking point as England prepare for a potentially decisive game against Uruguay on Thursday.
Manager Roy Hodgson deployed the Manchester United forward on the left of England’s attacking midfield in their opening game against Italy, preferring to give 19 year-old Raheem Sterling his competitive debut in the central support-striker role usually filled by Rooney.
While Rooney set up England’s goal with a marvellous cross played with his weaker foot, he still received criticism from some supporters inside the ground.
His best position has been much debated since Saturday, with many commentators calling for him to be restored to the central position or dropped altogether.
Lampard, the England squad’s most senior player, said Rooney was unfairly singled out and that discussion of his merits was an agenda that could harm the team’s chances.
“Unfortunately we do seem to have a fixation with one player at a World Cup,and it is frustrating when you are all in a squad working together,” he said.
“We’re not selfish, and rather than a debate the fixation can become an agenda, so we need to drop the agenda and concentrate on the players and the team the manager picks.
“Take Wayne’s name away and look at his work rate and the ball he put in, and it would be different. We are dwelling on something that we don’t need to and it can become detrimental. But behind closed doors we are very determined.”
Sterling also came to Rooney’s defence, calling it “an honour” to play alongside a man who was an inspiration to him.
The Liverpool winger said he would happily revert to his normal position on the right to accommodate Rooney in the centre.
“Some of the things Wayne Rooney does on the ball, you look at some of his clips he’s amazing, and someone I look up to, and it is an honour to play and train with him.
“It is up to the manager to decide at end of day, but my normal position is out on the wing and with his (Rooney’s) vision and passing ability and my running ability, it could be a really good thing.”
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17 June 2014 | 6:20 pm – Source: orange.co.uk