Roy Hodgson has got to work out how he’s going to get the best out of three centre forwards.
Daniel Sturridge deserves to be playing where he is as the main striker; in all fairness, the lad is on fire at the moment. But the England manager has some decisions to make about how he can put three centre forwards on the pitch and still get the best possible performance out of the team.
Wayne Rooney is best in the middle. To get the most out of him he needs to be playing the number 10 role. Playing him wide is definitely not getting the most out of him. He’s a team player and he wants to do his best for the team but he’s not doing it out wide. He won’t be happy with himself if he doesn’t think he’s doing his best for the team.
Rooney’s work rate was outstanding during the first half against Italy on Saturday. He ran farther than any other England player but he wasn’t as effective as he can be because of where the manager was playing him.
It’s the same thing with Danny Welbeck. The manager is trying to fit players into positions that they are not accustomed to. Wellbeck is a centre forward and that’s where you’ll get the most out of him. Hodgson is sacrificing their positions.
Personally, I would put Raheem Sterling out wide instead of Rooney. Sterling is a very, very intelligent player for his age and he could be just as dangerous from a wide position. I would have him out wide and you wouldn’t be sacrificing anything.
It’s unfair to criticise players when they are playing in unfamiliar positions, though. The players will definitely know about the debate that’s going on back home and what’s being said about them. They all have Twitter and I’m sure they’ve all got their phones. There are so many platforms these days and their friends and family will be telling them too.
How they handle it will depend on the individuals. When I got criticised I just got on with my job. It’s all about the individual; as long as the manager was happy with me, I didn’t worry about getting criticism, it was fine by me.
Other players can react well to criticism and it can lead to an improved performance. Hodgson said he was happy with the performance on Saturday so anybody coming in for criticism shouldn’t worry about it. They should look at it like I did and say if the manager is happy, then we’re happy.