It's No Longer 'Brave' To Drop Rooney...

Now it's a no-brainer. Perhaps John Nicholson is being a tad naive, but he doesn't believe there would even be an outcry if Hodgson dropped Wayne Rooney...

Last Updated: 16/06/14 at 09:45 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Wayne Rooney: Victim Of An All-Consuming Media

25 comments

John Nicholson has a confession for you this morning, so don't laugh. Johnny also believes he shares his inability to perform on demand with Wayne Rooney. So there...

Gerrard's Decay Becoming Sadly Apparent

48 comments

No-one likes to see a once great player suffering through the decline of his own body. John Nicholson believes some difficult decisions lie ahead for Steven Gerrard...

All Articles

I keep reading and hearing it said that it'll be a 'brave' decision for Roy Hodgson to drop Wayne Rooney for the game against Uruguay. But whether it's the right or wrong thing to take him out of the side, to do so surely requires no bravery at all. The really brave decision would actually be to keep Rooney in the team.

He's contributed the square root of almost nothing in World Cup tournaments fit or unfit, no matter where he plays on the pitch, in position or out of position - if indeed, after a career of being shifted all over the pitch, he has a position at all.

If we lose without Rooney in the side, absolutely no one can point at Roy and say, 'well, we'd have won if he'd picked him', because his World Cup form does not in any way back that guesswork. Everyone knows that now. There will be no feared press uproar because defending Rooney's form at World Cups is almost impossible.

To support the inclusion of Rooney we need some evidence that he can play well in a World Cup. There is none. There are so few games to play, a player has to be good now. The great players are already scoring great goals.

The hardest task for Hodgson is to give a reason for dropping Rooney that isn't the brutal truth - that he's not good enough, often enough, and what he does do, others can now do as well, or better. One superb assist is not enough. We have other players who can do that and more.

It is Rooney's unreasonably sky-high profile which makes the decision a notable one, of course. If he were a less celebrated player who had played in the exact same way, there would be no question at all that his place was up for grabs after so many four or five or six out of ten performances when there are no nines or tens. None. Dropping him would barely make a ripple.

But in the same way that large swathes of the public have finally realised that England are okay, but not great and that you need a lot more than passion and a bandage on your head to be successful at a World Cup, so most have also realised that Rooney isn't great at World Cups. It doesn't take great insight, all we've had to do is just sit and watch him not be great at World Cups. As a result, most would accept the decision to drop him with relief rather than fury. Maybe even Wayne would. The pressure must be oppressive for him.

I suspect there is a widespread desire to see Rooney dropped. Should we lose without him, the manager is likely to be complimented for at least having the balls to make a change and try something different, and if we win, he'll be hailed as a man who can make big decisions, a man who doesn't just keep hoping against hope that Super Wayne will turn up. That's why dropping Rooney does not need a brave decision, it's no-brainer. By all means lose trying to do something new, but don't lose doing the same old, same old. The reaction to the Italian defeat proves the efficacy of that.

The truly brave decision would be to make no change and keep Rooney in the side becasue if he fails again and England lose, Hodgson has nowhere to hide. He will be accused of putting too much faith in a player who self-evidently can't perform to the top of his form in this context. And losing with Rooney in the side and not playing very well is what usually happens at a tournament. We don't want that.

It is an important decision whether to select him or not, but not a brave one. And anyway, what's wrong with him being a substitute? Why can't Wayne be an impact sub? It's not an insult. Subs are really important. Is Roy worried he'll get fat if he doesn't play every minute?

We're forever told 'Wayne needs games'; the problem is, at a World Cup, the games just don't need him.

Johnny now writes superb northern crime novels. We love them. Check them out here: www.johnnicholsonwriter.com

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

put Ince in my fantasy football team, so it's no surprise at all really. I do that to players. Also responsible for De Jong and Upson being injured. Think I'll transfer in Di Maria just to ruin United....

megabrow (cufc)
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

L

ovren? £20m always seemed a touch on the expensive side, but I wasn't expecting him to be quite such a waste of money

stevenjameshyde
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

H

alf of our players have the physical presence of a 14 year old girl. I don't know why people are always shocked that they're injured.

TheWhiz
Wenger baffled by injuries

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Sky Bet Championship: Fulham thump Bolton, Huddersfield win at Wolves, Leeds held

Fulham thrashed Bolton 4-0 in the Championship, while Huddersfield won at Molineux to deny Wolves top spot.

Premier League: Sunderland boss Gus Poyet delighted Lee Cattermole stayed at club

Gus Poyet believes keeping Lee Cattermole was the best transfer decision he has made while at Sunderland.

Champions League: Liverpool out of sorts in 1-0 defeat at FC Basel

Liverpool paid the price for a disjointed performance as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to FC Basel in the Champions League.

Mail Box

It Was Better When City Were Rubbish

'I think I preferred it when we were s**t' says one City fan in the afternoon mailbox. There's a decent chat about the empty seats plus views on Liverpool and Roma...

Do City Really Need To Expand Their Stadium?

That's the question posed by one Man United fan in the mailbox after seeing the empty seats at the Etihad last night. Sadly, there isn't a single mail from a City supporter...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property