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Rooney Not A Natural Striker
Independent, August 22nd, 2008 2:16PM

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The whole of Wembley Stadium felt England striker Wayne Rooney's black mood when he was substituted out of the exhibition game against the Czech Republic on 69 minutes Wednesday, writes Sam Wallace. The player was "tired and frustrated," perhaps realizing that he "will never be a prolific international goalscorer."

In fact, Wallace says, the game may have taught us that it's time to stop thinking about Rooney as an orthodox center forward. Rooney's international scoring record is roughly one goal every two-and-a-half games. "On that basis Rooney should score four goals in England's 10 qualifying games over the next two seasons which is no-one's idea of a good return." Jermain Defoe is just as prolific, while Peter Crouch and Michael Owen are much better.

What Wallace terms "the cold reality of [Fabio] Capello's options" could mean the England coach can no longer put his faith in Rooney as an out-and-out striker, especially if he moves towards a 4-5-1 or a 4-3-3 formation. "It should not diminish Rooney to play on the wing. He has done it on and off for [Manchester] United for three years and now finds himself a European champion -- even if he has had to learn that the world does not revolve around him."

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