Roy Hodgson to field experimental England team against Ecuador with Wayne Rooney to play on left
Tonight Wayne Rooney will find himself playing on the left wing, while the industrious, versatile and yes talented James Milner will be placed at right back in a somewhat experimental England line up in Miami. It is my opinion that this seemingly radical move from Hodgson is in fact an exceedingly ordinary one if we look back at managers who have desperately tried to cram as many star names in their starting line ups as possible.
Steven Gerrard was subjected to a similar role in 2010 as Fabio Capello unsuccessfully attempted resolve the age old issue of Lampard and Gerrard. It seems that Hodgson has failed to learn from such mistakes, and will persist with what is obviously an extremely contagious condition that causes England managers to stick square pegs in round holes.
While we may all be intrigued by the notion of Milner excelling in a position that could do with an injection of ‘something’ following a somewhat abject performance from Liverpool’s Glenn Johnson at Wembley last Friday, I can’t help but think that this is a case of attempting to accommodate our best players.
As for Mr Rooney, the narrative of late has been whether or not he is worthy of a start in his natural position. Yes, we have all marvelled at Rooney’s willingness to compromise for the greater good of the team over the years. In fact I distinctly remember Rooney admirably marauding down the left wing to accommodate Ronaldo at Manchester United. But this is not Manchester, and we do not possess Ronaldo or anything close at this moment in time.
I may well have to eat my words if England succeed against the Ecuadorians tonight, but I can’t help but think back to a successful world cup qualifying campaign that encouraged Capello to persist with an imbalanced line up that was eventually our undoing.