He’s in blistering form for his club Manchester United, as Fantasy Premier League managers revel in the automatic Captain’s Armband that has become Wayne Rooney thus far in the Premier League season, but should he even travel to Euro 2012 as a member of the final squad of 22 players representing England?
Rooney was sent off against Montenegro on Friday and now faces a ban (anywhere between 1 and 3 games) which he will serve at next summer’s Euro 2012 tournament.
Rooney will learn of his suspension on Thursday, and if he is only suspended for 1 or 2 games, manager Fabio Capello will surely include him in the 22 man Euro 2012 squad.
But what if Rooney is suspended for 3 games? The entire group stage? Should he be left off the roster entirely? Remember, the maximum number of games a team can play is 6 – including the final. Surely England can’t be considered favorites alongside Spain, Germany or the Netherlands – instead they occupy Tier 2 with France, Portugal, Italy, etc. – so if a ‘successful’ tournament for England is 4-5 games, then Rooney would only be able to play in one or two.
Rooney is England’s best player. He’s world class. Would Portugal ever drop Cristiano Ronaldo? No. Would Holland not include RVP? No way. But Rooney can only blame himself. He’s scored 28 goals in 73 internationals, a good return (though not outstanding) but his international career has been overshadowed by three incidents that show a distinct lack of discipline – his red card in World Cup 2006, his cursing into the camera at his own England fans after a 0-0 draw with Algeria in Cape Town at World Cup 2010, and now his red card during Euro 2012 qualifying. Will he ever learn?
England do have other options for Euro 2012. Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll, and Darren Bent are all young and new to the England scene – but have shown league form in recent seasons to justify a punt.
Bobby Zamora can hold up the ball, Gabby Agbonlahor is in superb form for Aston Villa this year, and the always reliable Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe have nearly 40 international goals between them – squad players perhaps at a major tournament, but decent back-ups.
Rooney is perhaps irreplaceable, but if the ban is 3 games and if Welbeck emerges this season as a 15+ league goalscorer, I would leave Rooney off the team, take Welbeck and Bent as my starters, and hope one of Sturridge, Carroll, Agbonlahor or Zamora can act as a ‘super-sub’ off the bench.
Sorry, Wayne. Your attitude and lack of discipline keeps following you around – from season to season, tournament to tournament, and sooner or later you’ll need to learn a lesson. Perhaps a Euro 2012 exclusion will be just that?