Wayne Rooney explains England's priorities; dismisses calls to be more streetwise

England's Wayne Rooney applauds the fans at the end of the match

England players' opinions differ with regard to play-acting at the European Championships.


England's Wayne Rooney talks to Referee Marco Guida Wayne Rooney explains what England are focusing on ahead of the tournament

England captain and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney has dismissed Eric Dier's call for the Three Lions to be 'streetwise' in their play at the Euros, and backed Harry Kane's stance that English players' honesty will prevail in the end, as reported by Sky Sports.

Just last week, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dier told The Guardian of how England should approach the tournament, saying:

"There are a lot of European and international teams who have that intelligent edge. They win fouls in clever places on the pitch. 'Streetwise’ is the perfect way to put it. European teams and nations are like that whereas I think the English are a bit too honest and hard-working at times. We need to be clever."

England's Eric Dier in action with Portugal's Rafa Silva Eric Dier claims England need to learn to be more 'streetwise'

Then Dier's Spurs teammate Harry Kane spoke to Sky Sports, claiming the England players will always be honest, and called for stronger refs, as reported yesterday on HITC:

"I know what Dier means but I think a lot of English players are known not to go down as easy as players from other countries. "We'll see what happens come the tournament but hopefully the refs stay strong."

Portugal's Bruno Alves fouls England's Harry Kane before being sent off Harry Kane is proud of the English attitude

Now Rooney has weighed in with his opinion on the matter, explaining to Sky Sports News how England have far more important things to focus on.

"If you're looking at that, then I think we'd be struggling if we're relying on that to win and go far in the tournament," the United skipper said. "It can be a small margin which can benefit you, but the other things we're doing and planning completely out-weigh that. That's a tiny thing you can do better."

England's Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney warm up before the matchEngland's Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney 

There can be a case for both sides of the argument. The great Italian teams of the past have been notorious at staying on the ground just that little bit longer in order to coerce the referee into making a decision in their favour.

The romantic idea would be for English players not to lose their identity and remain honest throughout the tournament while letting their football do the talking. The more pragmatic view, however, is that of Dier's, where if the Three Lions are to ever compete at a major tournament they have to learn from the likes of Italy and Spain, and win fouls in crucial areas of the pitch at important times.

As the old saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them.

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