Paul Merson: This Liverpool ace should be England's main man, not Rooney

The former Arsenal midfielder believes Wayne Rooney should be shifted out wide in favour of a central role for Raheem Sterling.

Some of England's best football at the World Cup was played with Raheem Sterling starting in behind Daniel Sturridge.

There was one victim of the tactical switch, however, in Wayne Rooney.

The Manchester United - and now England - captain was shunted out to the left-hand side, where, despite creating an assist against Italy, he looked cumbersome and far from his best.

But, after last night's 1-0 win over Norway, Paul Merson believes Rooney should return to the left, as 19-year-old Sterling is simply the Three Lions' best player.

Indeed, the former Arsenal man says Sterling should play centrally for Roy Hodgson's side during England's Euro 2016 qualifier at Switzerland.

“Sterling was the shining light,” Merson told Sky Sports News. “He was outstanding.

“For the Switzerland game, I would let Sterling go and do what he wants. When he plays out on the wing he comes inside but you need to get him on the ball.

“At the moment he’s the one playing with all the confidence in the world. When that happens you need to take advantage of that and let him be around the play a lot more.

“I’d play Wayne Rooney out on the left and put Sterling in the centre and let him get on the ball because, at the moment, he’s the man bang in form.”

  TeamPosDribbles WonGoalsAssistsAppsMins
Eden Hazard Chelsea MF 16 1 0 3 257
Raheem Sterling Liverpool MF 9 2 1 3 255
Santiago Cazorla Arsenal MF 8 0 1 3 183
Fabian Delph Aston Villa MF 8 0 0 3 270
Erik Lamela Spurs MF 8 0 2 3 241

Opta stats may just support Merson's argument, as the 19-year-old Liverpool star has won the second-highest total of dribbles in the Premier League so far this season.

And Sterling has also scored twice and registered an assist in his opening three league games. Much more could be to come.

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