England performance worrying

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney scored in England’s previous warm-up game – a 2-1 win over Australia

England put in a “worrying performance” in their Euro 2016 warm-up victory over Portugal on Thursday, says former Three Lions defender Danny Mills.

Chris Smalling’s late header secured a 1-0 victory over 10-man Portugal.

But Roy Hodgson’s side, playing with a diamond formation, created few chances in their final match before their Euros opener against Russia on 11 June.

“There are many square pegs in round holes. I am not sure what system Roy is playing,” Mills told BBC Radio 5 live.

Where should Rooney play?

Forwards Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy all started an England game together for the first time, with Rooney in a number 10 role behind a Kane-Vardy strike partnership.

Tottenham’s Dele Alli played on the left of midfield, with James Milner on the opposite side.

Vardy made just eight passes all game and did not manage a single attempt on goal – Rooney and Kane had just one attempt each.

“There were three centre-forwards on the pitch going for the same ball, in the same space. I don’t get it. You are taking away from all those players all their strengths,” said Mills.

“I think Rooney is taking away from Kane’s position and Alli’s position.

“There is a place for Rooney in this side, but it’s not in the position he’s in at the moment.

“You have to play Kane up front as the number nine, Alli in the 10 role and if Rooney has to play deeper or wide, he’s good enough to play that role.”

Hodgson defends “split” strikers

Kane and Vardy scored 49 Premier League goals between them this season, but both men had few opportunities to receive the ball in the penalty box, and were often found in wide areas.

“We played with split strikers,” Hodgson said. “When you play with that system, you need your strikers to split.

“If you play with them going down the middle and Rooney in behind them, you would never be able to defend the wide areas.

“There were moments in the game where they were too wide, but basically speaking their job is to split and come together.”

Rooney expects an improvement

Captain Rooney, 30, who was replaced by Adam Lallana after 78 minutes, said England struggled to break down their opponents after Bruno Alves was dismissed in the first half for a high challenge on Kane.

But England have now won all three of their Euros warm-up matches, after victories over Australia and Turkey.

“They made it difficult, but we kept going and we got the win so that was obviously important to us,” he told ITV Sport.

“We are winning games when we are not playing well. We have to improve and in tournament football you have to improve to win games.”

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