Should England stick with Wayne Rooney after Euro 2016?

He's now 30 and seen defeat at six major tournaments, but does that mean the Three Lions skipper should go?

Wayne Rooney
(Image credit: Valery Hache/Getty)

After the debacle of Euro 2016 and the resignation of Roy Hodgson, England fans are once again wrestling with the questions of whether to sacrifice a star player in the hope of appeasing the football gods.

This time it is Wayne Rooney whose future is up for debate after yet another tournament failure.

The skipper has now been involved in six major tournaments with England during which they have won a single knockout match (against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup).

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In previous years, the likes of David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Young were on hand to take the brickbats, usually after missing a penalty. But with the "golden generation" now consigned to history, it is Rooney who stands centre stage.

There are questions over his future, says Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph.

"Hodgson was fully committed to Rooney for his experience, his presence, the weight of goals he has scored for England – 53 now – and because he felt he was a useful survivor in what was an increasingly youthful squad," he says. "A new manager may feel differently about Rooney’s importance, especially as his future role and where he fits in remains unclear.

"It was right to include Rooney in the England squad, but there was a genuine debate as to his worth in the team. That will only intensify now as England move towards the World Cup qualification campaign and another fresh start."

After Iceland, "Rooney and one or two of the elders at the edge of the team will feel the chill", says Barney Ronay of The Guardian.

The player is 30 and remains "a fine leader, goalscorer and high-class footballer", adds Ronay, but it is time for him to "call it a day or be moved gently on".

He continues: "England need a new tone and texture, a break with the many lows with which Rooney is unavoidably associated."

And, he says, ditching the Manchester United captain would allow the incoming manager a clean desk, "just as Bobby Robson dispensed with a late-pomp Kevin Keegan when he took the job".

Indeed, losing England's record goalscorer would certainly be a "new broom" statement, agrees Oliver Kay of The Times. But it could backfire. Steve McClaren tried to jettison David Beckham in 2006 "only to go grovelling back to the exiled captain".

Despite the misery and humiliation it brings, Rooney does not want to retire from international duty and that is good news for a country whose footballers are often accused of lacking character. "At a time when the FA has not even worked out what type of manager it would want to succeed Hodgson... Rooney’s commitment to the new regime should be welcomed," adds the journalist.

The United man has plenty left to give and could yet experience a late-career renaissance under his new boss, Jose Mourinho.

"The challenge for Rooney is to ensure that he remains part of the set-up," argues Kay. "He will know that his position as an automatic starter, never mind as captain, cannot be taken for granted under a new manager... Russia 2018 might yet prove a bridge too far for him, but he is determined to give it a go. For that small mercy, England should be grateful."

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