Stan Collymore adds voice to Wayne Rooney debate: To start or not to start

Manchester United man is replaceable, with Arsenal starlet providing more defensive assistance to Everton star for England in World Cup.

"Wayne Rooney provided a great run and assist for England's goal against Italy," wrote Stan Collymore in his Bleacher Report column.

While Roy Hodgson's Three Lions lost by a 2-1 score against the Azzurri, they won plaudits for the manner in which they approached the game, with a fast start reminiscent of Liverpool in the Premier League.

Out of all nations who have lost their opening FIFA World Cup group match in the competition thus far, it is England who attempted the most shots on goal (17) - a statistic far higher than the average (9.46). However, despite all the efforts to affect the scoreline, they only struck once, when Sturridge converted Rooney's cross.

Collymore said of the goal: "It was a moment reminiscent of his Euro 2004 heroics—the way he drove forward and produced quality. He also had a great chance to win the game, but he didn't take it."

  NationMatchDispossessDuel LostFoulsChallenge LostPoss Lost AllShot Off Target
 Rooney England vs Italy 2 7 1 1 8 3

Being wasteful in front of goal (three shots were off-target) was not the only flaw in Rooney's individual game at the weekend as he was also twice dispossessed, lost seven duels and surrendered possession eight times.

There is now a debate amongst the nation's media as to whether Rooney is worthy of his starting role, particularly when one of the many wonderkids Hodgson called up could replace the United star.

"Whatever people are saying, Roy Hodgson will pick Rooney against Uruguay. And he'll continue starting him as long as he's manager of England," noted Collymore, who believes that a replacement could help the defensive deficiencies that were exposed by the Italians - particularly down their right hand side, the channel Leighton Baines was marshalling, as the Toffees full back was vulnerable in one-on-one and two-v-one situations; not helped by an absence of Rooney.

"Should he keep faith in Rooney? I think there's a strong argument he should go with pure pace and leave Rooney on the bench. If Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is fit, I'd be tempted to start him… It might be that Oxlade-Chamberlain would provide better protection to Baines on the left."

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