England national football team

Hodgson: Wayne Rooney should take ‘management role’ after playing career

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England has enjoyed the quality of world-class players numerous times in the past, and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney is one of those footballers.

Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson believes that Rooney’s skill level over the years will put him in a favorable position to obtain a managerial role in the near future.

However, the former West Brom manager couldn’t put forth accurate retirement speculation concerning the veteran, and he compared the longtime United standout to other accomplished English players, saying that all of them care capable of bearing managerial prestige.

“Wayne has a lot of playing time left so I can’t think he has given retirement much thought,” Hodgson said through Sky Sports.

“But when you have had a career like he has had, or the likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Terry or Cole have had, and you are that good a professional, then I would love to see them all stay in the game in a coaching or management role because they have so much to offer.”

Rooney has counted three goals and two assists in six Premier League games this season. His strength on the ball is still a key positive trait of the scorer. While his expert characteristics may have slightly declined, the 28-year-old striker, numbering 313 appearances on United, has just entered a prime age range.

Whether or not he can recapture his superb form from 2011-12 remains unlikely, but Hodgson’s right about the future. It really would be expected to note a 40-year-old Rooney manning the sideline for a gritty BPL squad.

England, Italy could have a pitch of a time

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Brazil spent nearly $300m building the Arena da Amazônia, a stadium with a capacity to seat more than 40,000, situated deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.  The stadium is beautiful, a steel structure designed to reflect the tropical heat, and designed to resemble a traditional basket.

But if you take a peek inside, much of that beauty disappears. On Monday, photos emerged showing the arena’s field. With the first World Cup match scheduled for Saturday, June 14, you’d expect a lush, glowing cover of green grass, sparkling invitingly in the sunshine.

Instead the pitch is reminiscent of a field in December. On which a three-day tournament has just been held. After scraping off the snow with shovels. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the photos show a patchwork of green and brown, a dusty landscape with yellow lines across the field.

Certain sections look better than others, but all in all, it’s not a place you’d want your team to be launching their bid to lift the World Cup trophy. Yet that’s exactly what England and Italy must do. Their kickoff in Manaus is slated for 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, leaving officials with little time to revive the pitch.

In such short tournaments, almost every variable can play a role, from kickoff time to humidity levels to the amount of time passed since the grass was last watered. Players and coaches know this. But that won’t make it any less heartbreaking should yet another player injure himself, while attempting to run on a dry, rutted surface.

Angry about Paddy Power cutting down rainforest in Brazil? Don’t be.

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If you were on Twitter yesterday, suffering through England’s dull goalless draw with Honduras and wishing you could fast-forward to the start of the U.S. match with Nigeria, you may have seen a photo that enraged you.

Ok, it’s Twitter. You probably saw more than one message/comment/photo that got your blood boiling. But this tweet, in particular, had many outraged:

It appeared as though Paddy Power, a UK-based betting company, had gone to Brazil and selectively chopped down a bunch of trees, then flown overhead to capture their special message. Then, as if that weren’t enough, Paddy Power had actually bragged about this deforestation, posting about it on social media.

The stunt was a step too far for a generation brought up hearing about the horrors rainforest deforestation could and would inflict on the world. “Idiotic,” “horrible,” and “disgraceful” were some of the more, shall we say, family-friendly responses to the tweeted image.

But, as Paddy Power revealed on Sunday morning, it was all a hoax. A very well-planned, well-delivered hoax. The company used some nifty computer graphics to create an extremely realistic view of what appeared to be the Brazilian rainforest outside Manaus. They then tweeted the photo in hopes of attracting attention to the continued degradation of the Amazon.

Let’s hope it worked. According to Greenpeace, an area the size of 122 soccer fields is chopped down every 90 minutes. Paddy Power has included this information in their followup explanation tweet and blog post, and they’re encouraging fans to visit Greenpeace to get involved.

Good on them. With four days left before the World Cup kicks off, there’s no reason fans can’t drag their attention away from injury reports and betting odds to take a few minutes to educate themselves about the country in which the tournament takes place. After all, everyone’s going to need something to talk about should England prove as dire in Brazil as they did against Honduras.

Rooney turns to psychiatrist to help him cope with World Cup pressures

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It’s no secret that Wayne Rooney has had a tough time of it at many major international tournaments. After racing toward fitness for the 2006 World Cup, he failed to score, then was red carded in the quarter-finals. In South Africa, England were eliminated in the second round. Then in Euro 2012, Rooney missed the first two matches after receiving a red card for a tackle in the final qualifying match.

Perhaps Rooney doesn’t need further training, but rather time to reflect and consider his role in the England squad, and the weight of the expectations that come along with being one of his country’s top players. The English FA has recruited Dr. Steve Peters, the Liverpool club psychiatrist, to work with the players prior to the start of games in Brazil. If players choose, Dr. Peters will be available for consultation.

Rooney scored 17 goals in 29 Premier League appearances for Manchester United this season, but the forward is open to the idea that perhaps it’s the specific pressures of a major tournament that is hampering his form on the world stage:

When you’re going into a tournament, you believe you’re going to do well, so you don’t really feel that pressure, but maybe inside you are, and you just don’t realise.  I’ll certainly speak to him and see if it can benefit me. There’s no harm in that. It’s interesting. If it can give me an extra couple of per cent, it’s worth doing. So I’ll speak to him and see how it goes and if it’s worth continuing.

In the last 20 years, England have made it no further than the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Drawn with Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica this time, the Three Lions will need the best from Rooney if they plan to make a deep run in Brazil.

Wayne Rooney, Al Pacino and the World Cup

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It’s not often that you hear English soccer coaches advising their players to draw their inspiration from American film stars. But Roy Hodgson knows he needs to get through to Wayne Rooney in any way possible. Since bursting on to the scene in Euro 2004, at just 18, Rooney has struggled to make much of an impression in international tournaments.

So, too, have England. They made it to the quarter-finals of both Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup, but then failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and had a disappointing campaign in South Africa in 2010, when they went out in the first knockout round. And England being England, they were knocked out of Euro 2012 in the quarter-finals in the most English of ways, losing to Italy on penalties.

But Rooney was suspended for the start of that last major tournament. On his return, he scored the only goal, giving his team the 1-0 win over Ukraine. He was also one of only two English players to score their penalties against Gigi Buffon.

Yet at times Rooney has shown himself a tad undisciplined. He got himself suspended for the first two Euro group stage matches after he kicked out at Miodrag Džudović in England’s draw with Montenegro. He was sent off for a stomp on Ricardo Carvalho in 2006, with England going on to lose to Portugal on penalties. So is giving him advice connecting him to Michael Corleone of the Godfather movies really the best idea?

Hodgson went for it, anyway. Talking about Rooney’s need to rise to the occasion in Brazil, the England coach said:

I’m sure it must be the same for Hollywood film stars,” he added. “I’m sure you make your first film and nobody knows much about you and you get some good reviews. But one day you’re going to be Al Pacino, you’re going to be Jack Nicholson. And, suddenly, you’ve got to make a f—— good film.

Not sure if Pacino is quite the right analogy, however. It only took Al a couple of years after making his first film for Francis Ford Coppala to take notice and cast him in The Godfather. He then collected Oscar nominations, along with stellar reviews. Whereas Rooney’s been subject to much criticism after his initial foray onto the world stage, when he scored four goals at Euro 2004.

But Pacino did hit a bit of a rough patch in the early 1980s, taking on some controversial roles. Then came Scarface, just over ten years after The Godfather. The movie was huge at the box office, met with critical acclaim and even earned Pacino a Golden Globe.

So perhaps what Hodgson is saying to Rooney is: it’s time to make your Scarface, son.

Although, one presumes, without the mountain of cocaine and the assault rifle.