Sam to solve England's dilemma: Rooney

England captain Wayne Rooney at St George's Park on Tuesday. He feels Sam Allardyce can solve the problem of England not playing to expectations.
England captain Wayne Rooney at St George's Park on Tuesday. He feels Sam Allardyce can solve the problem of England not playing to expectations.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • Wayne Rooney is hoping that new England coach Sam Allardyce finds the solution to the problem of English players freezing and underperforming in tournaments.

Rooney, along with Gary Cahill, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling, have been made very aware of fans' frustration after their failure at Euro 2016.

"It's there everywhere you go," said Rooney, speaking before training at St George's Park on Tuesday, where he announced he would retire from international football after the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

"I'm sure a lot of the English players have had that and it's something which I'm sure Sam will look at over the next year and try to work out why that's the case.

"There was a big lack of concentration. You can say Iceland are ranked wherever they are in world football (No. 34 then, now No. 23), but at that level, if you lose concentration, you'll get punished and that's what happened. There was a lack of discipline in our shape."

Sterling, for one, was clearly struggling in France but the England captain felt that he has improved massively under new Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

"He got a lot of stick, Raheem," Rooney said. "He's come back and the best thing for him might well have been a change of manager at his club. You can see his new manager has given him a lot of confidence. He believes in him."

Now it is Allardyce's turn to address the issues. In training on Tuesday, his coaches, Sammy Lee and Craig Shakespeare, were continually shouting "communication" to a squad with a reputation for quietness.

"He's played certain ways to get the best out of his teams," Rooney added.

"At Bolton, he did a fantastic job with the team he had; West Ham, I don't think he gets the credit he deserves for that; and at Sunderland, keeping them up was a great job, so hopefully he gets us playing in a good way.

"I feel I've still got something to offer this team and the manager feels that as well."

England will kick off their World Cup qualifiers with a trip to Slovakia on Sunday.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2016, with the headline 'Sam to solve England's dilemma: Rooney'. Print Edition | Subscribe