SportSoccer

Wayne Rooney admits he is 'tired' of questions about his best position

SoccerBy Sunday World
Rooney: I'll play wherever the manager wants me to play.
Rooney: I'll play wherever the manager wants me to play.

Wayne Rooney is sick of the constant questions about his best position, pledging to play wherever interim England manager Gareth Southgate deems fit.

Even for a player used to being in the spotlight, the constant talk about the 30-year-old's most influential role is starting to grate.

Rooney played in Roy Hodgson's midfield at Euro 2016 having ended Manchester United's campaign there, only for Jose Mourinho's appointment to see him shift back to a more attacking position.

The Three Lions captain returned to a deep-lying role in last month's World Cup qualifier against Slovakia, with Sam Allardyce even expressing surprise at how far he dropped in the narrow win.

Rooney's position continues to be a talking point despite the 61-year-old no longer being at the helm, with the topic re-emerging ahead of Southgate's first matches in interim charge.

"I don't know, it's a question for Gareth," the England captain said.

"The question of where I'm going to play... it's getting a bit tired the question of whether I'm going to play as a striker, in midfield or as a number 10.

"I've answered that question many times and it's the same answer: I'll play wherever the manager wants me to play.

"I don't pick myself, I haven't picked myself ever and I will play to instructions.

"I'm sure the instructions from Gareth, whether it's to play or not to play, are instructions I will carry out to the best of my ability."

The clear irritation at the constant questions compounds a difficult time for Rooney at club level.

Named on the bench for United's last three matches, he arrives on England duty in the unusual position of looking for game time.

"Of course you want to play as a footballer player but it is my job, I love football and I love being involved with the team," he said.

"Obviously I'm not starting at the moment at Manchester United but I have to work hard to try to get back in the team and the starting XI, which I'm doing, and when I get my chance I have to take it.

"But again I'm fully supportive of the team and the players, the manager and Manchester United.

"Of course I want to be involved but the most important thing is that we win."

Rooney's desire for team success is just the same at international level, where Southgate will be leaning on him to lead during this unstable period.

The 30-year-old is understandably pleased to have been kept on as captain by his former international team-mate, who was parachuted into the role after Allardyce's abrupt exit last Tuesday.

"Of course we have to come here and be prepared to do our job," Rooney said.

"In terms of starting again, I'm not sure. We need to build on the three points we got in the last game.

"We have to concentrate on the football, which I'm sure we will have no problem doing and the other side of it is not our issue or anything for us to be concerned about.

"We have to concentrate on playing the game."

Rooney believes this is a big opportunity for Southgate to "try stake his claim" to become permanent England manager following the ignominious end to Allardyce's reign.

The Daily Telegraph's secretly-filmed footage means the 61-year-old is on holiday rather than preparing his players at St George's Park, destabilising the Three Lions ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.

"I think it's a shame," he said. "Everyone could see how excited Sam was for the job and he showed that enthusiasm to the players.

"It's a shame it's happened. I'm sure he deeply regrets it but that was a decision for the FA to take and as players we have to work with Gareth.

"When the lads met up everyone seemed fine and happy and we have some training sessions to work on how we're going to play on Saturday."