Frank Leboeuf: ‘Wayne Rooney is wasted as a number 10’

Former France and Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf has said that he believes Wayne Rooney should be given a free role in the England side.

Debate has raged for much of the season over both whether and where Rooney should play in a full-strength England XI, with the likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli all having outperformed the captain throughout the campaign.

Roy Hodgson is expected to field the Manchester United man in the number 10 role behind the striker, but Leboeuf believes that such a position is now obsolete.

“The number 10 doesn’t exist anymore, [France] have Dimitri Payet, not somebody who’s going to go in the middle of the field to try to organise everything, like [Michel] Platini used to do. In the modern time, it doesn’t seem that those players exist anymore,” Leboeuf told ESPN.

“When I see [Cristiano] Ronaldo, he plays on the left and is going to create his own actions. [Lionel] Messi is a little bit more like [the old number 10s], but not really similar. Wayne can do everything. He’s a fantastic player. He can be a finisher, but he can also create, where he comes back in the midfield, but he’s more like a free guy, like Messi; [David] Silva’s the same.

“They can be up front, or midfield again, they can go on the left, or the right. That’s why I say it doesn’t exist. Platini used to stay in the middle and never went to a side to create something special. It’s different now. For the past 10 years, football has changed. Formations have changed, You don’t try to find one guy to organise. [Rooney’s] comfortable everywhere, so why do you want to stick him in one position?”

England begin their Euro 2016 campaign against Russia on June 11.

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