Wayne Rooney is no longer England’s number one striker, says former national team captain Alan Shearer.
England skipper and leading all-time goalscorer Rooney has been named in a provisional 26-man squad for Euro 2016.
Shearer says the 30-year-old is more suited to a midfield role, behind Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy.
“There was always going to be a place for the captain and rightly so,” he said. “But the days of Wayne being the number one striker are gone.”
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Match of the Day pundit Shearer, who was top scorer at the European Championship 20 years ago, added: “He’s still got a lot to offer.
“I think Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy deserve to have their chance up front, but I still think Wayne has a part to play, whether that is in midfield or the number 10 role.”
‘England’s Achilles heel’
Manchester United forward Rooney was one of five strikers named by Hodgson in his squad on Monday, along with Tottenham’s Kane, Leicester’s Vardy, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford.
Newcastle winger Andros Townsend and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere have also been called up, while England boss Roy Hodgson has picked three centre-backs in Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United) and John Stones (Everton).
“Defensively would be my one worry for England,” said Shearer. “I would be confident with us going forward and in midfield, but the old Achilles heel is defensively, certainly down the middle at centre-half, which has been a problem for a number of years. We don’t seem to have been able to solve that.”
‘Rashford a bright prospect’
Rashford, 18, has scored seven goals in 16 appearances for Manchester United this season and has been given his international chance following an injury to Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck.
“He has been one of the bright sparks for Manchester United this season,” said Shearer. “He probably wouldn’t have got his chance other than injury to some players but he did get it and he took it.
“He has been full of energy, scored goals and he looks a bright prospect. It will be great experience for him, even if Roy doesn’t take him to France.”
‘Looking towards youth’
Rashford was selected ahead of Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe, who has scored 18 goals this season, including five in the past nine games of the season.
“Once Jermain had left this country and gone to play in Canada then that was probably his England career gone,” said Shearer, in reference to the six months Defoe spent with Toronto FC prior to joining the Black Cats in January 2015.
“Having said that, he has had a magnificent season with Sunderland. But Roy is now looking towards youth and rightly so.”
‘Drinkwater deserves his place’
Midfielder Danny Drinkwater has played a big role in helping Leicester win the title, making 37 appearances for the Foxes.
He has been selected along with Arsenal’s Wilshere, who broke his leg in August and only made his first start of the season on Sunday. Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, who missed a month before returning for the final game of the season, is also included.
“I’d be surprised if Roy was to take all three of Drinkwater, Henderson and Wilshere,” added Shearer. “That would be a big gamble, particularly with the lack of fitness of Henderson and Wilshere.
“Wilshere has only started one game and Drinkwater has been magnificent all season. He deserves a place in the squad.”
Hodgson has to trim three players from his squad before the end of May.
Teams are only allowed to take 23 players to Euro 2016, which are being held in France and run from 10 June to 10 July.
England begin their Group B campaign against Russia on 11 June, before facing Wales (16 June) and Slovakia (20 June).
They warm up for the tournament with matches against Turkey (22 May), Australia (27 May) and Portugal (2 June).
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