London, Sep 6 (IANS) Hailing Wayne Rooney as one of the few world class players in the England squad, former manager Glenn Hoddle said the striker should consider dropping to a midfield role to prolong his career.
Rooney, the top choice striker for the England team for several years, moved level with the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton as the top scorer for the national team after scoring his 49th international goal, thanks to a dubious penalty in a 6-0 win at San Marino in a European Championship qualifier on Saturday.
The victory enabled England to qualify for the 2016 European Championships in France.
Given that Rooney — who will turn 30 in October — has been unable to live upto reputation at major comeptitions, calls have been made in the past urging England manager Roy Hodgson to drop the striker.
Hoddle, however, feels that the Manchester United star will be more effective if he assumes the role of a withdrawn forward rather than an all out striker.
“England have so few world-class players that it would be foolish to get rid of Rooney too soon. I can see him dropping a little deeper, to play just behind the striker, where sometimes there is more space to come on the ball and score.
“He would still make a goal-scoring contribution but he would also start to become one of those creative players which England lack at the moment,” the former England manager wrote in his coloumn for the Daily Mail.
“In that role he could have a long future for England and you would hope that his best tournaments are still to come. Given England haven’t won anything for 49 years, like most great England players, he will probably end his career without that honour.
“But there is no reason why he can’t make a massive contribution to the new generation of players coming through,” he added.
Rooney is struggling for goals at club level this season and is yet to get off the mark in the Engish Premier League for Manchester United.
His best performance was a hat-trick in a Champions League qualifier against Club Brugge.