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Clamour grows for Rooney reprieve

ESPN staff
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Wayne Rooney has failed to score at two World Cups © Getty Images
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The clamour for Wayne Rooney to be given a key starting role for England at the World Cup is growing after speculation that he has fallen out of favour with Roy Hodgson.

Franz Beckenbauer and former Manchester United manager David Moyes have been extolling the virtues of Rooney, who scored in the 2-2 friendly draw with Ecuador on Wednesday, as the debate about his position in the team rages.

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was injured against Ecuador © Getty Images
  • England manager Roy Hodgson is ready to gamble on the fitness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the hope he can play a full part in the World Cup knockout stages. The Arsenal forward is likely to miss the first two group games with a knee injury.
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Hodgson has accused the media of an "obsession" with the issue and Rooney himself has had to tackle criticism from former club team-mate Paul Scholes, who questioned whether the England manager would have the courage to drop him.

"When I look at England I think he has to play," Moyes said. "He has the ability to score. He has the mental strength to handle the games. In those games you look to your big players and Wayne will be a big player for England.

"Wayne will be desperate to show everyone what he can do. He knows how important this is for him. In his mind, he's strong and he'll be determined to go out and show how good he is."

Rooney has failed to score in two World Cups and, with Daniel Sturridge likely to be England's main striker, may have to settle for a role on the left if he starts - a position he played in against Ecuador.

But Franz Beckenbauer, the former Germany player and manager, believes Rooney is his country's main threat and needs to play in the role he is most accustomed to.

"Rooney is one of the best centre forwards in the world," Beckenbauer said. "He is England's weapon. He comes with a guarantee - a guarantee of goals."

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