Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWith or without Roo - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough With or without Roo - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

With or without Roo

So Wayne Rooney is set to miss out on another European Championships after his foolish kick in the trip to Macedonia earned him a straight red card on the night, and more importantly a three-match ban for next summer.

UEFA’s decision to stick to the ban means that Rooney will now miss all of England’s group matches come the start of the tournament in Ukraine and Poland which really begs the question as to whether or not it is worth Fabio Capello picking the Manchester United striker for his squad.

By selecting Rooney, Capello runs the risk of disrupting the side’s momentum should he be reintroduced when the three games are up, providing England advance from their group, and maybe change the game plan and the mindset of the Three Lions.

Capello has to devise a strategy to get England through the group stages and if he can do that also has the issue of getting his best striker in the best mental and physical condition that he can as he tries to integrate him back into the team.

If he doesn’t pick the short-tempered striker then the Italian risks leaving behind arguably England’s most talented player. Rooney isn’t just great for being Rooney but he is also very important for the way the team plays.

Since changing from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3, Rooney has been used as the main link between the midfield and the forwards, dropping deep to pick up the ball and involving the wingers in the attack. His blossoming partnership with Ashley Young has been evident and used to devastating effect when lining up for both club and country.

For me, I’d take Rooney.

You’d like to assume that England do advance from the group and into the knockout stages of the tournament where they’d be taking on the finest of Europe’s footballing nations, who’ll be equipped with some of the best strikers in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I rate the likes of Darren Bent and Daniel Sturridge among others but without Rooney England lack the star power that others possess up top.

Spain have David Villa and Fernando Torres, France have Karim Benzema, Mario Gomez and Antonio Cassano are performing for Germany and Italy respectively, Robin Van Persie is ripping up the opposition for the Dutch and Portugal (should they make it) boast Cristiano Ronaldo – without Rooney, England would be miles away from the competition.

And let’s be honest, when push comes to shove and England have to roll their socks up when locking horns with Europe’s elite, you’d rather have Rooney than not.

Capello has a proper dilemma on his hands, but should he pick the right group of strikers to cope for when Rooney is absent then I see no reason to not stick him on the plane. If England are to have any chance of winning Euro 2012 then they need to have one of Europe’s best strikers leading the line, and without Rooney, England wouldn’t be able to say that they have that.

Matt Cotton @FindingCotton

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