Rooney wants to play as a striker at Euro 2016

Date published: Tuesday 17th May 2016 3:24

Wayne Rooney: Wants to start up front

Wayne Rooney says he wants to play as a striker for England this summer, but insists he will be able to adapt to a new role if required.

The 30-year-old Three Lions captain has seen his place in Roy Hodgson’s side for the opening Euro 2016 match against Russia on June 11 called into question in recent months.

Despite breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s long-standing goalscoring record for England, Rooney – now with 51 goals from his 109 caps – has not enjoyed as successful a season as his compatriots Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy.

His Manchester United team-mate Marcus Rashford, even at the tender age of 18, has been holding down the main striker role at Old Trafford of late, with Rooney dropping deeper into Louis van Gaal’s midfield.

That may well be where he is favoured by many to play for England over the summer, giving licence to Kane and Vardy – who notched 49 Barclays Premier League goals between them this season – to start in attack.

And, although stressing that he wishes to be regarded as a striker, Rooney says he can adapt to fill the needs of the team.

“As a player you are always adapting,” he told Sky Sports News.

“You adapt to your team-mates and different coaches you work under. It depends what the coaches want from you.

“Throughout my career I’ve adapted to different situations and different teams I’ve played in, and I have no problem doing it.

“In tournament football you need players who can play in different positions. I’ve always felt like I can play in different positions. Obviously I want to play as a striker but I’ve always believed I am capable of playing in different positions.

“I think you saw in the 2006 World Cup with Owen Hargreaves, he was probably England’s best player, purely for the fact he could play in different positions.”

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After crashing out of the 2014 World Cup in the group stages, England are expected to produce a much better result in France.

Although he would not be drawn on how far he believes he can lead England, Rooney says the squad is strong enough to beat anyone.

Wayne Rooney England

“I don’t know,” he said when asked about tournament expectations.

“I feel we have got a very good squad and it is probably the first time I feel that the squad is capable, in any given game, of matching any team there is.

“It is obviously about having the consistency to do that throughout the tournament so you never know. With the players we have got you never know how far we can go but at the last World Cup we went out at the group stage.

“So we had a good qualifying campaign but we need to make sure we don’t slack off from that, we keep going, keep pushing forward and give ourselves every chance.”

With the likes of Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling joining other precocious talents such as Rashford and Kane in Hodgson’s 26-man squad – which must be trimmed to 23 by May 31 – Rooney knows his role is now that of an elder statesman.

“To go to a tournament with England is a special feeling, to do it as captain will be great,” he added.

“The manager involves me in a lot of the decisions, there is myself and a team we have put together with a few other senior players.

“If there are decisions on behalf of the team to be taken I go to those players and we talk about it and try and do what is best for the team.

“You have to be a role model and ambassador for your country and that is what I have tried to do and do to the best of my ability. Importantly as well, on the pitch I try and lead by example and I feel I have done that and I will keep trying to help this country be successful.”

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