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Rooney's exile to left wing could continue

ESPN staff
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Wayne Rooney may have to continue settling for a place on England's left wing after Roy Hodgson admitted he is prepared to use the striker in the same position again.

Much of the build-up to Wednesday's pre-World Cup draw against Ecuador in Miami surrounded Hodgson's decision to deploy Rooney on the flank.

The England manager was even involved in a bizarre exchange with a reporter ahead of the match, refusing to describe Rooney as an exceptional player after revealing his plan to play him on the left.

It is a role Rooney has admitted to being uncomfortable fulfilling for his club, Manchester United, in the past, though he impressed in the 2-2 draw as he took his England tally to 10 goals in his last 15 matches.

"We've always known Wayne has that ability,'' Hodgson said. "He can play several positions.

"This left-side role was filled by Danny Welbeck against Peru and Wayne Rooney is a similar type of player.

Wayne Rooney featured on the left wing against Ecuador © Getty Images
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"They are both forwards, both forward players, both goalscorers, so there was no reason for me ever to doubt Wayne could do well in that position.

"But I was pleased that he did well and I was pleased for him to score a goal, which is always important.

"His England goalscoring record is really quite incredible and Steven [Gerrard] and I, of course, hope he is going to continue that because you can only win games by scoring goals and we need our goalscorers in good form.''

Asked if it was difficult for him to speak to Rooney about playing out wide, Hodgson added: "It wasn't difficult at all, in fact I didn't know that [he had previously spoken about playing there].

"In fact, I think quite often when I watch him play, he quite likes to drift out onto the left-hand side even if he is playing behind the striker or as a striker.

"This is obviously maybe something he said in the past in answer to questions, but certainly when I told him that was where I want him to play he didn't bat an eyelid and was more than happy.

"I believe he has even been quoted as saying that, so there's no reason for me to doubt it."

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