Italian defender outlines why Rooney has to start in Manaus

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The Manchester United forward will look to be a key man in England's World Cup opener.

Wayne Rooney is a danger man for England against Italy according to Azzurri defender Andrea Barzagli.

If there has been one thing that has been the talk of the England camp recently it has been the form of Rooney and whether he should be a guaranteed starter for the Three Lions, but if the comments from Juventus defender Barzagli are anything to go by, he should be staring for Roy Hodgson's side in Manaus tomorrow night.

He's quoted in the Daily Mirror, saying: "Rooney is an international player with great experience and quality, but England have three or four important forwards.

"Rooney is an outstanding forward, always dangerous. England certainly have a strong front line and we will have to be wary of that. They have a very tough defence, so it won't be easy, but we tested out various things to make life difficult for them."

Those quotes alone outline why Rooney should surely start England's opener.

Some have said that Rooney hasn't shone at the World Cup, and now is his time to deliver. In 2006 he wasn't fit prior to the tournament after breaking his foot in a Premier League match against Chelsea, whilst in South Africa 2010, no England player covered themselves in glory following their exit at the last-16 stage. England went out having only scored the three goals.

Despite the perceived failure of Rooney at big international tournaments, he is a player that is used to playing big games. Having played in title deciders and Champions League finals, he has an excellent pedigree at club level, and given his versatility, he can be a threat from several areas of the field. 

Whilst some take the simplistic view of his goal record at major tournaments, given that Rooney likes to drop deep, some of the work he does in order for England to maintain their shape can often get overlooked. 

Having performed at the top level, Italy are right to earmark Rooney as a danger man. If given the time and space he can come up with that piece of quality that could decide a game.

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