TRNAVA, SLOVAKIA: New England manager Sam Allardyce vowed to defer to captain Wayne Rooney over his positioning after starting life as the Three Lions manager with a last-gasp 1-0 win over Slovakia in World Cup qualifying.
Adam Lallana snatched a 95th-minute winner against 10-man Slovakia in Trnava on Sunday to prevent Allardyce from becoming the first England manager since Bobby Robson in 1982 not to win his first game.
Rooney retains England captaincy under Allardyce
Rooney, making a record 116th appearance for an England outfield player, adopted a deep-lying midfield role for much of the game despite Allardyce having said he would play in a number 10 position. But Allardyce said: “This is the most decorated outfield player in England. He’s won everything at Man United, more or less, and at the Champions League and domestic level. He holds a lot more experience at international football than me as an international manager.
“So using his experience with a team, and playing as a team member, it’s not for me to say where he’s going to play. It’s up to me to [ask]: ‘Are you playing well in that position? And if you are playing well and contributing, that’s great.’
Rooney to end England career after 2018 World Cup
“Yes, I’d like him to get forward a bit more. He’s been a goal scorer all his life and I want him still to score goals, but he reads a game as he reads it. I must admit, he did play a little deeper than I thought he’d play. But I was pleased with his performance.”
Rooney, 30, started the game in midfield alongside Jordan Henderson in a 4-1-4-1 system.
He pushed up into a more orthodox number 10 role at half-time, only to retreat to a midfield holding role after Allardyce sent on Dele Alli for Henderson.
The 30-year-old, who recently announced that he will retire from international football after World Cup 2018, has been playing as a number 10 for Manchester United this season and Allardyce indicated prior to Sunday’s game that he would use him in a similar role. Adding to the confusion, Rooney himself told ITV he had played “where Sam wanted me to play”.
England dominated possession against a stubbornly unadventurous Slovakia team, but thanks to the last-minute strike from Liverpool’s Lallana sealed a win which was called a ‘huge relief’ by the new manager Allardyce.
Slovakia coach Jan Kozak felt his team’s display had set the tone for the rest of their Group F campaign. “If you want to be successful, you need to leave everything on the pitch,” he said. “We, as a team, have the character and the enthusiasm. But the opposition were very tough.
“England are a good team, but they had fewer chances here than they did in the Euros. It was only when we went a man down that they created more.”
Courtesy : Express Tribune