England play Ecuador at SunLife Stadium in Miami on Wednesday with Roy Hodgson set to make plenty of alterations for his penultimate World Cup warm up match.
One of the most interesting changes Hodgson will make is deploying Wayne Rooney out on the left wing.
The Manchester United forward missed the last few weeks of the Premier League season through injury and looked a little rusty in his first game back since April when England beat Peru 3-0 at Wembley last Friday.
Rooney, 28, is heading into his third World Cup with England and many feel it is time he delivered on the biggest stage.
He failed to score at the World Cup in 2010 and 2006 in two England teams that were stacked with talent. Heading into the 2014 World Cup, Rooney is clearly England’s main man and the Three Lions need him to shine in Brazil.
Having Rooney out wide on the left will allow him to cut in and create chances from deep-lying positions. Even though the United forward has scored 38 goals in 90 games for England, his ability to pick out a pass and lay on assists can’t be underestimated. During the 2013-14 season Rooney compiled 10 assists, the third most in the PL. He has been tried out on the left for club and country in the past but it has never really worked out.
However with Daniel Sturridge scoring a beauty against Peru last week and the Liverpool striker coming off a red-hot season where he scored 24 goals for the Reds, it seems as though Hodgson is only going to select one forward in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Right now, Rooney will not be the long target man.
Let’s see how he fares out on the left flank against Ecuador.
Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.
[ MORE: Champions League standings ]
The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]
So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:
- A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B
[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]
There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.
The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?
With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.
[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]
Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.
Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.
Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.
Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.
Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).