Rooney ‘really shocked’ by Southgate mistake which could cost England glory at Euro 2024

Joe Williams
Wayne Rooney on England
Wayne Rooney during his role as a TV pundit.

Wayne Rooney is “really shocked” that Gareth Southgate chose to leave out Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell from his England squad for Euro 2024.

Despite drawing widespread criticism for their performances at Euro 2024, England topped Group C and avoided what appears to be the much tougher half of the draw for the knockout stages.

A goalless stalemate with Slovenia in Cologne was the continuation of the Three Lions’ struggles in Germany, where they have also so far drawn 1-1 with Denmark and beat Serbia 1-0 courtesy of a Jude Bellingham header.

Their attacking intent down the left-hand side has been limited, partly due to Kieran Trippier playing out of position at left-back, although he has played there on many occasion now.

Southgate decided to take a risk by including half-fit Luke Shaw, who has had injury problems all season at Manchester United, over another left-back like Chelsea’s Chilwell.

And, although Shaw has claimed he will be available for England’s “next game” against Slovakia in the last 16, Rooney was baffled at Southgate’s decision to select the Man Utd left-back over Chilwell.

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“I was very surprised and really shocked that Ben Chilwell didn’t get picked,” Rooney said on the BBC’s Football Daily podcast.

“Just for balance of having a left-footed player there. You’re talking about a player at Chelsea. He has been good for England in the past, he’s a good left-back and he’s been at tournaments as well.

“So I was really surprised he wasn’t selected and now you’re left with [Kieran] Trippier or [Joe] Gomez.”

Rooney added: “I think at the moment it has to be Trippier or Gomez who plays there.

“Or do you bring Kyle [Walker] across? For me he’s been the best right-back in the world over the last few years so do you take that away from England?

“There’s so many imbalances and questions from that point of view. The left-side of the pitch has been a bit of an issue for me.

“That’s the one area now where I don’t know what he will do. It will be interesting to see what Gareth Southgate does in the next game.”

Fans booed England off following a dour display against the Danes and followed suit after the Slovenia result, with beer cups thrown in the direction of manager Gareth Southgate, who has since called on any of the fans’ ire to be aimed at him rather than his players.

Bellingham, though, has spoken about the positive impact that the fans inside the RheinEnergieStadion had on him and wants to reward them with better performances moving forward.

“I think you definitely draw on them for energy towards the end of games,” Bellingham said.

“I felt like in the last game, I was absolutely dead but you hear them singing, hear them chanting and you can play at a level that’s not our best, it’s normal, it can happen.

“But I think the important thing is, when you’re wearing this badge and you’re representing those fans, is that you don’t give up and I think that they’re a constant reminder of that.

“I think it’s always interesting. I know there’s a lot of negativity outside the stadium and the camp but I always feel that when we get into the stadium, it’s so different.

“I think it’s important that as team-mates and as a team, we remember that the ones in the stadium are the ones that are going to give us the energy so don’t worry about the ones that aren’t there.

“We’ve obviously got to keep using that energy, using that feeling that we get from them, to be successful in this tournament.”