Wayne Rooney ‘not worried’ about Harry Maguire, thinks Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive fears are ‘exaggerated’ and insists ‘best player’ Phil Foden MUST start as he picks England World Cup XI
- Wayne Rooney has revealed his feelings about Gareth Southgate’s England squad
- England’s all-time top scorer has backed the recording of Harry Maguire
- And claimed that furore surrounding Trent Alexander-Arnold is ‘exaggerated’
- Rooney also explained that he believes Phil Foden is England’s best player
Wayne Rooney has publicly supported Gareth Southgate’s selections for England’s World Cup squad, admitting he is not worried about the inclusion of non-form stars Harry Maguire and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Rooney, England and Manchester United’s all-time top goalscorer, has tried to assuage the anger sparked by some of Southgate’s questionable picks, most notably Man United captain Maguire and Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold.
England manager Southgate has been criticized for choosing players based on past successes rather than current form, while defensive problems have been identified as a key problem area.
Wayne Rooney backs Gareth Southgate’s decision to pick Harry Maguire for England
Rooney named Manchester City winger Phil Foden England’s best player heading to Qatar
Writing in the Sunday Timesthe legendary striker tried to divert attention from the ‘exaggerated’ discussions surrounding the camp in England:
“There’s been a lot of discussion, but Trent gives you something else,” Rooney said.
Rooney admitted he’s not worried about Trent Alexander-Arnold .’s defensive woes
“The fear of his defensive vulnerability is exaggerated. Yes he has been exposed a few times this season but I think that reflects Liverpool more as a team than him individually
As a footballer, he is the best right-back England has.
“My base pair would be Stones and Maguire: they give you tournament know-how.
“There’s been some discussion about him because he hasn’t been in Manchester United’s base, but I’m not worried about him in a tournament situation,” he said.
Maguire has made just four Premier League appearances for Man United this season, starting just three, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez’s defensive partnership keeping the 29-year-old on the bench.
While Alexander-Arnold was largely seen in the past as non-essential to Southgate’s England plans, he only made 14 appearances for the national team despite winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup with Liverpool .
Rooney also identified Manchester City forward Phil Foden as England’s best player en route to Qatar, ranking the 22-year-old above Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane.
England manager Gareth Southgate (center right) has been criticized for picking Man United captain Maguire (left)
Alexander-Arnold (center left) is largely kept on the sidelines by Southgate
Foden played at club level under Pep Guardiola, scoring eight goals in all competitions so far this season. But he has failed to replicate his form with England, scoring just two goals since his debut against Iceland in 2020.
Rooney explained why he had chosen Foden and how he would use him as a left winger when he was in the dugout, writing: The way he has performed over the years shows that he is the best player in England.
Rooney also revealed who would start in his England XI from the stars en route to Qatar
“He creates chances, he scores goals. He hasn’t quite done for England what he’s done for City, but I think he’s got everything you need and he’s the best player we have technically and skill-wise.
‘How would Foden work in my team? With the right winger coming in, I’d keep Foden wide on the left and let him go to players, bet players one against one and put crosses into the penalty area, which is what he’s so good at,” he said.
WAYNE RONEY’S ENGLAND XI
Formation: (4-4-1-1): Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Saka/Sterling, Rice, Phillips, Foden; Bellingham, Kane