New Three Lions manager Sam Allardye has drawn huge criticism from football enthusiasts for using Wayne Rooney in a much deeper role on Sunday’s World Cup 2018 qualifier against Slovakia.
However, Big Sam has brushed off all criticism from the pundits and has defended his decision of playing Rooney in the midfield.
Adam Lallana’s injury-time goal saved England from a frustrating draw at the City Arena after the Slovak team were reduced to 10 men after the dismissal of captain Martin Skrtel in the 57th minute for a foul on Harry Kane.
Sam Allardyce defended his tactical strategy and said: “It’s not for me to say where to play Wayne Rooney”.
Former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon had openly criticised Big Sam’s decision of playing Rooney out of usual position and in a much deeper role.
“We’ve been duped in where Rooney was going to play and he’s playing so deep. He was almost at centre back at times, said Lee Dixon.
“There’s no one in that No10 area where we thought he would play.
“Harry Kane wants the ball behind. Someone has to come out and spin into the holes.
“The only way is to fill that No10 areas.”
The new manager heaped praise on Rooney and asserted that he would continue putting the Man Utd star in the same deeper-lying role in the future. Big Sam also accentuated that Rooney did brilliant in the deeper role and branded the Man Utd captain as one of the most gifted outfield player in England.
“Wayne played wherever he wanted to. I can’t stop Wayne playing there,” said Allardyce after the match.”
“This is the most decorated outfield player in England. He’s won everything at Man United, more or less, and at Champions League and domestic level.
“I think that he holds a lot more experience at international football than me as an international manager.
“Using his experience with a team, and playing as a team member, it’s not for me to say where he’s going to play.
“It’s up to me to ask whether he’s doing well in that position, and contributing. If so, great.”
Sunday’s World Cup qualifier clash was almost a replay of the frustrating tie, when the two sides locked horns at Euro 2016. Both the teams failed to break the deadlock within regulation time but thanks to Lallana’s last gasp winner which ensured England’s close victory.
Sam Allardyce was elated after his first victory after taking charge as the new manager but asserted that it was a difficult task to overpower the Slovakian team.
“Pretty nerve-racking at the end!’ Big Sam added.
“The 10-men situation makes it a must-win. They try harder, defend longer, but we got what we deserved.
“Perhaps their goalie shouldn’t have stayed down so long.
“I thought Theo’s was a goal. I thought it wasn’t going to be our night, hitting the post, having a goal disallowed.
“We’ve got to push on [after the red card], full-backs push on.”