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Paul Scholes exclusive on England v Italy: The disappointing thing was not the way Wayne Rooney played but where he was played

The former midfielder gives his verdict on England's result against Italy in their World Cup opening game in Manaus and highlights the performances of Barkley and Sterling

by Paul Scholes | June 15, 2014

I didn’t think we’d beat Italy, but that was an encouraging performance from England despite the 2-1 defeat. There were many positives from the game – the final ball was lacking quality but we should have little to fear from Costa Rica or Uruguay who are shocking defensively.

We still didn’t take enough care of Andrea Pirlo, which was obvious. He ran the show, especially in the first half when Italy needed him to (67 passes).

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney for England – this is his tournament to step up

Raheem Sterling did very well for England and went past the opposition impressively, but his final pass wasn’t up to standard. Maybe it was inexperience, or tiredness, and he will get better. Other positives for me were that Ross Barkley looked strong when he came on, and Daniel Sturridge was lively too.

The disappointing thing was not the way Wayne Rooney played but where he was played. I’ve previously said the best position for Wayne is centre forward. If you think about the contenders at the World Cup and goalscorers – Holland play RVP in his best position. Brazil play Neymar where he wants to play, Argentina with Messi, Portugal with Ronaldo.

I don’t blame Wayne one little bit but he was played in three different positions. He’s without a doubt England’s best goalscorer (his record in qualifying showed that: seven goals). But he was played on the left, played on the right, then in the centre. Where’s the confidence in Wayne to say: ‘You’re our main player. You’re our centre forward.’ If he plays there, he scores goals.

Wayne will play anywhere he’s asked. He’s not a moaner or a sulker but it was glaringly obviously there was a massive problem down that left-hand side against Italy. Candreva in particular was stunning and Darmian really hurt England.

I thought we took Danny Welbeck off too soon (maybe he was injured) but my feeling is there is plenty to come from these players.

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