Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Welbeck Will Expose The Pretences About Giroud

Fate finally forced Arsene wenger's hand. For over a year, he had baulked at calls from his critics to sign a top-notch striker to compliment Olivier Giroud. Arsenal's title challenge flamed-out in the chill of winter last season, and critics attribute that to insufficient support for Giroud up front, especially after Theo Walcott got injured in the middle of the season.
Some Arsenal fans were incandescent with rage at Wenger's stance not to bring a striker in the January transfer window. As admirable as his belief was in Giroud, and the supporting cast strikers, add to that his aversion for throwing money about in the transfer market, when the slightest need occurs, there were large hints of narcissism, and masochism to Wenger's resistance. Giroud has thus enjoyed the status of a saint in the eyes of commentators and fans. Just what his manager angled for.
Giroud was his only credible striker; an amiable personality; however, his characterization as saviour, or hero, suited him perfectly, even if it was actually a travesty.  He was portrayed as the striker defying the regular threshold of self-sacrifice to end Arsenal's trophy-barren years.  

Olivier Giroud Injury: Updates on Arsenal Star's Ankle and Return
This self-inflicted shortage of strikers, masked the fact that the French International was  technically abysmal in many games last season. His first touch was clumsy, his hold-up play weak, add to that, for a big guy, he hardly troubled defenders, and seldom made the sort of runs, or movement that could cause the opposition back line to crack. 16 in 36 league games proves he is average in the current paradigm for top strikers.
Fate served Wenger a curved ball, and sadly Olivier Giroud's broken foot at Everton on August 23rd, meant the Arsenal Manager could no longer stone-wall the issue. Alexis Sanchez had an impressive display against Besiktas at the Emirates in the 2nd leg of the champions league qualifying tie led to even louder calls to buy another striker.  To his credit, he signed Danny Welbeck for a price proportionate to his value. £16 million for a 23 year old England international is good business in today's market.

This may mark the turning point for the Gunners in attack. In Welbeck, they have a centre forward who can play: he is quick, aggressive, plays with passion, technically excellent, with an abundance of skill to match. He will make runs behind the lines; and that should prompt Arsenal's over-indulgent, over elaborate, snail-paced attacking midfielders into an early pass towards goal.

Danny Welbeck Injury: Updates on Arsenal Star's Ankle and Return

I am willing to bet Olivier Giroud would lose his starting place in Arsenal's attack to Welbeck within a year. But such is his potential. Personally, I never understood why he did not get enough games as a central striker at Man United. He underlined his enormous talent  at the Bernabeau two seasons ago, in the champions league clash between Real Madrid and Manchester United. I particularly enjoyed his tussle with Madrid's centre back Raphael Varane

Danny Welbeck no doubt has to score more goals. His goals per game ratio is not a reflection of his potential. But we must not forget Fergie played him on the flanks a lot. In many ways, leaving United was not such a bad thing, even if  I understand the sentiment behind those who are sad to see him leave. The game is not always about fairy-tale endings. Just ask Fabregas and Barcelona. What matters most is where you are given the best opportunity to play, rather than waiting forever at the club of your dreams. Football careers are too short for that.

Arsene Wenger has signed his most significant striker since Robin van Persie. Mark my words!


Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Rogue Transfer System Made By FIFA & UEFA

Manchester United's £60 million purchase of Angel di Maria from Real Madrid might serve to trigger the blow back that forces football Authorities to admit the inconvenient truth: the transfer market is over heating, with outlandish player valuations making a mockery of the theories and norms that underpin the transfer system.

Eleven of the biggest transfer fees ever paid, have taken place in the last five years.That underlines the fact that FIFA's creation of the transfer window has broken the system. Imposing time-lines on such trading, basic economics tells us, inevitably leads to artificial scarcity, that generates a spike in prices for players, who are in this case, de  facto commodities.
It's the simple maxim of too much money, chasing too few ( available ) commodities. If you widen the time frame for such transactions to take place, and maybe limiting it at the climax of the season (for example April and May) you then give clubs more than enough time to make assessments,  and do business without the panic of deadlines. Now, Clubs fear if they lose a player, there might not be enough time to get a replacement; so they over-value the asset they have to part with, in order to mitigate a potentially unfavourable circumstance.
The UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulation is another one of them flawed ideas. The theme is supposedly to make clubs live within their means. If not, get fined or banned from UEFA competition for spending more than they earned.
How can  UEFA contrive the same rule for all the clubs in Europe, when Clubs are formed and run distinctly, from country to country!
Why not allow national associations deal with such regulations, rather than overly centralising checks and control. If Clubs are made de facto legal entities,  whether owned by one person, a group, or share holders, in theory, the dynamics of capitalism would cleanse the system. Clubs that rack-up unaffordable debt would go bust, and out of business; or an investor may choose to buy the club, and pay the debt. Ken Bates bought Chelsea for a nominal fee of £1.00, and ended up selling to Roman Abramovich for a healthy profit. UEFA's puppeteers did not have to get involved. 
The likes of Chelsea, PSG, and Monaco, would find loopholes to get round UEFA's rules, or worse still, the  assets (players) they hold get sold for disproportionate sums, in order to buy, then balance the books, Much like Chelsea sold Brazilian defender David Luis for £50 million to PSG; and Belgian Striker Romelu Lukaku for £28 million to Everton to fund the purchase of Diego Costa, Felipe Luis, and Cesc Fabrigas
The likes of Real Madrid have also got in on the act. After paying the exaggerated price of £63 Million for the world cup's top scorer James Rodriguez, to part off-set their outlay, they sold Angel di Maria for £60 million to Man United. Just like they did last season, selling Mezut Ozil for £42 Million to Arsenal to allay the £86 million, world record transfer fee for Welsh star, Garreth Bale. To stay within the rules, Clubs are resorting chicanery and maximalist bargaining ploys. It's a clear indication of how these ill-conceived regulations by football authorities, has sent player valuation and transfer fees spiralling, artificially. Free up the market, and you put this rogue business back in line.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Celebrates with Gareth Bale
Silly Market regulations tend to conjure unintended consequences, as proven by the number of times the transfer record has been broken since the transfer window came into effect eleven years ago.
Trying to control how much Clubs spend is an exercise in futility. Clubs only resort to gamesmanship, authenticity dies as a result. Allow Clubs spend what they want to spend, and let the market sort itself out. Demand and supply are interdependent variables, and sustain themselves
FIFA and UEFA have unleashed a synergy policies that is harming foot ball. The game is getting heavily monitised, and frivolous. Clubs at the bottom of the rungs who are disconnected from the gravy train will suffer more, because everyone is looking for a star player. Who goes to the lower leagues to check on players? aren't Clubs in that bracket being undermined and isolated by all of this fixation on bigger names? Who remembers the practice of going down a division to scout for  emerging talent, who will join to Club to play as an understudy, waiting patiently till he gets his chance. Wasn't that much cheaper ?
To the ordinary fan, big prize tags for players, equates talent. He or she is duped into believing paying more to see games on commercial TV, or as a season ticket-holder, is a quid pro quo for enhanced value of entertainment. Fans have become restless, frustrated, and acerbic, when their team fails to buy "expensive talent". Our pundits and commentators who shape opinion, spout away regularly that only when you buy players like PSG and Real Madrid do can you be counted as serious contenders, further exacerbating the negative trend of events in the transfer market.
The game is being irreparably harmed if the current state of affairs continues.  Blame it on the interventionist policies, morons at the European Commission, FIFA, and UEFA put in place, that Joe Bloggs has a £30 Million price tag! You and I know he is not worth that much!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Jack Wilshere: Time For a Rebound

It would be fair to say the door opened for Paul Scholes to become a regular soccer pundit, when the  ex Manchester united, and England Midfield maestro, made a guest appearance on SKYSPORTS to cover an Arsenal game some time last spring. In his post match analysis, he observed Arsenal's midfielders to be irresponsible; played "tippy-tappy", inferring a lack of end product to their play.
Notably, he mooted the idea Jack Wilshere's performances had plateaued after a bright start to his career. It was perhaps a  breath taking  indictment, framed in stinging, nonchalant fashion. The media never miss the opportunity to hire blunt, and direct characters.

Scholes' critique of young Jack Wilshere has however, aroused
 wider scrutiny of the England International's performances, with suggestions he did not do enough to merit a place in England's World cup squad. It was only at the beginning of 2013, when England took on Brazil in a friendly at Wembley, when the Left footed Arsenal midfielder produced a dazzling midfield display that left many commentators purring.

Confident: Jack Wilshere believes Arsenal's comeback against Everton will inspire them against Besiktas

It's happened to have gone rather flat since then, and the adulation has turned to groans and frustrations, with another notable ex England international, Jamie Carragher calling on the Arsenal number 10 to start producing more in games.
There's no doubt Jack Wilshere is on a hiding to nothing from here on. With Steven Gerrard  and Frank Lampard now retired from the England set-up, and England seemingly lacking many credible, top-notch midfielders, the jury is out on the  22 year old. Can he make the next grade ?It's make or break time!
The pertinent issue to the debate should be framed: why is Jack Wilshere seemingly treading water? why has he not gone on to be a stand out player many believe his talent deserves?
For starters, his off-field indiscretions has fed into the narrative of a player losing focus. But there are also a number of mitigating factors: Paramount of the bunch has been injuries. After missing the whole of 2011/12 season, he has yet to play an injury free season yet..... 
When he burst on the scene, he seemed to possess the requisite strength, speed, and guile to go past opponents . Essentially, that acceleration and robustness in his game have gone missing; and that seems a direct consequence of a succession of ankle injuries.
Whilst his Managers at Arsenal and England have remained steadfast and believing in Wilshere's qualities, it won't be out of place to lay some of the blame at his Club manager, Arsene Wenger's door steps, as to why Jack Wilshere's performances have lost traction.
The lad is not going from strength to strength because the manger has not made him go back to basics. He needs to be told to smarten-up his midfield play. Wilshere persists in making the same fundamental mistakes like running into traffic when a simple pass will do; he has played too often  in sterile fashion, hardly making  goal scoring chances for team mates; neither has his passing range and vision been anything to write home about lately. Simply put, he is not at the cutting edge of midfield play. 
Injuries or not, Wilshere's understanding of the finer technical and tactical aspects of a midfielder can be called to question at this point, and the person who sets up the tactical frame work on a day-to-day bases at Club level, is Arsene Wenger.
The level of frustration will grow if he does not get back in the groove sooner. Jack needs to learn beating his man is not a prerequisite for a midfielder, but a supplementary quality.  He needs vision, and control of the game, offensively and defensively. He must learn to be a 12 -15 goal assist sort of player. These are the stats that matter. And the bases for that needs to be worked on  by his Club coach.
It's too early to start comparing Jack Wilshere to anyone, but he has smashing potential. He is supposed to represent the  breed of modern midfielders. However, he still is only 22, and we should not sling too much on his shoulders. Suffice to say, it would be a delight to see some vital signs of progress in aspects of his game, begin to emerge. Don't you think so Mr. Wenger ?
Let's hope first he has an injury free run  this season  for starters!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Throwing Money At Manchester United's Issues

Manchester United's home loss to Swansea on the opening day of the season underscores just how many commentators continue to misdiagnose current issues at one of the World's most famous Club sides.

Immediately after Loius van Gaal was appointed, commentators went into a frenzy about how the Dutch trainer would not tolerate egos in the dressing room; and how players would have to work extra hard. Then during the recently concluded FIFA World cup, as Holland Coach, he switched to a 3-5-2 formation, blitzed Spain 5-1 in their opening group game, and took the Oranje to the semi-finals. That seemed  to set the seal on his universal approval as the right man to restore the glory days at Old Trafford

Amid the cacophony of adulation, Brendan Rogers was right to caution that the Premier League is a tough one, and the lesser teams do not roll over that easily. Yes, the same rabble rousers who made Jose Mourinho's Chelsea champions last season, even before a ball was kicked.

The Paul Scholes-Alan Shearer School of Thought infer United need to go out and make expensive signings. Implicit in their theory is that Man United lack quality in certain areas, and like some pre-fabricated construct, all that is required is to get a customised accessories, and all will be well and good again for the Red Devils.

I reckon everyone knew Alex Fergusson to be a phenomenon, but also quickly forgot after he retired, that the level of success he created at United was an aberration. The dynamic he had set in place was going to be an albatross around the neck of his successor.

More to the point, it took time for Alex Fergusson to wake up the sleeping giant United were when he joined. At the time of his abrupt departure, many of the stalwarts of the team had reached the sunset of their career. Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic,  Nani, Anderson. The team was effectively in need of redefinition in Fergie's last season.

In the past, the Legend, Alex Fergusson could rebuild, no problem. He had been there long enough. He had authority, respect, charisma, successes, and the fans on his side. So much so, he could pull a rabbit out of a hat. He had created a fibre, an ethos, and a dynamic that weaved all the congruent parts into what they needed to be. United were a well oiled machine.

Folks must stop kidding themselves into thinking Manchester United's problems is a lack of big names. United's issues is one linked to transition and rebuilding. The absence of the man who had over seen such milestones for 25 years cannot be taken for granted

It would take time. How much time? no one knows. Louis van Gaal is an experienced manager, and an ideologue.  I am sure he realises he has to build a team, hone it tactically, create an ambience, and this takes some time. Building a team is a science. A number of variables need to interact to arrive at a state.

I must say I am surprised at the likes of Paul Scholes; formerly reticent, now transforming himself into a media pit-bull. I read his column a couple of week ago in which he was quite disparaging of  Young Players. Insinuating there is not enough English talent coming through, because Youngsters get paid a lot too early. 

It's that worn-out argument that money makes Young players lose focus. Scholes and his ilk should return pitch side, take-up the job coaching the youngsters at Club or National level, and create paradigms, rather posturing in the media. Only then can I take their opinions seriously. Talk is cheap!!!  

Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal have all managed to advance their squads from last season, while United try to find their feet. If LVG can nick a Champions League place, or win a cup competition in this transition season, he would have done marvellously well. There are no magic wands in football.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

England Suffer Maladaptive Syndrome in Manaus

England surveys the remains of a tactical crash in Manaus, after defeat to Italy in its opening game at the 2014 World Cup. Advocates and opinion formers will spin this as some kind of progress, in terms of the performance. They'll sharpen the rhetoric, and have us believe England played good, positive attacking football, a vindication for picking young, skilful players in the team.

Picking a team, and tactics should never be influenced by popular opinion; and I dare to say, England Manager, Roy Hodgson caved in to popular demand, and fielded a team that he would know deep down, does not add-up. 

Read It Is Roy Hodgson's Trial, Not Wayne Rooney's

England played the 4-2-3-1 formation, to fit names, but all it did was create a tactical headache for the manager.  Rooney, Welbeck Sterling, behind Sturridge was always going to leave the team with a deficit in numbers when defending. You are depending on at least, three players from that group to adapt to defensive duties, which is a counter intuitive command, and a tactical risk that really did unravel Manaus.

Read England: Expectations and Formations

Welbeck on the right, Rooney on the left, and Sterling in the middle, all three supposedly interchanging was a nice piece of theory. In reality, it created square pegs in round holes in offence and defence, especially for Rooney and Welbeck. The lack of defensive balance on the left of the England team, was a legacy of this ill-judged tactic, and Italy's winning goal proved it.

As eye catching as Raheem Sterling's performance suggests, it was in reality a pyrrhic one. Points is what counts;  and the stats on chances created and ball possession, Italy triumphed. How can there be positives when Hodgson fires his big guns, to no avail.

Italy on the other hand were fluid, simple, elegant, and tactically imposed their game on England. Former England Manager Glenn Hoddle said last week, Andrea Pirlo will not last 90 minutes in the heat of Manaus. Again he was wrong. Pirlo smacked England's bar with a sumptuous free kick in time added on.

Pirlo is what Floyd Mayweather is to boxing: a master of his craft. The 35 year old was shepherded by Verratti and De Rossi in midfield; and in his vision - right and left, he had movement off the ball from a combination Chiellini, Marchisio;  Darmian and Candereva. Ballotelli was the man on the end of everything. A finely woven system by Coach Prandelli. His tactic puts the opposition on the back foot, giving them a pedestal to dominate.

The question is where does England go from here? my take is that 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1 is the way to go. The team needs to be compact in midfield, andJack Wilshere added on to the midfield roster. The full backs Johnson and Baines have to pound the flanks

The vital thing is playing players to optimise the system, and not the opposite. Drumming for and against individuals like the nation is doing is futile. Wayne Rooney has to be the reference point to England's attack not a distraction. The Manager has to make him the spear-head, or drop him.

England team pose for a team photo prior to kicking off against Italy

You can see how the Italians ring-fenced Ballotelli and Pirlo. Rooney deserves that. But more importantly, have a cohesive master plan. One that is enduring, self-sustaining,  and balanced enough to deal with the unknown. It was woeful seeing Darmian, and Candreva running riot down the England left, and the reaction is to have Rooney and Welbeck, strikers by trade, having to adapt, tracking back. Play suitable players in those positions, and non of that need arises.  Preposterous. England deserve better than that.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

England: Expectations and Formations

 England's 1966 World Cup Hero, and all time top scorer, Bobby Charlton, suggests England are  lacking "world class players" ( yes, once again, that silly phrase: "world class players") and categorically declaring the team will not win the world Cup. Then BBC Anchor, and Mexico 86' World Cup, top scorer, Gary Lineker, urges the team to "outscore" opponents, playing  attacking football. Ex-International, and icon, David Beckham has weighed in with his thoughts to the effect: "the kids will be alright".

The mind set of such luminaries easily highlights the misconceptions England have when it comes to the national team. The sum cannot be bigger than the whole. To achieve results, you need a good team - and better still, a balanced team.

There is a fixation in  England for the reincarnation of heroes of the past - Bobby Charlton, Kevin Keegan, Glenn Hoddle,  Bryan Robson, John Barnes, Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddle, David Beckham.  Every new generation of players is foisted with the prophesy, pre-ordained to return England to the promised land. Players who do not even have 15 international caps carry this albatross of labels from soothsayers. This is fed through to the fans by the media, and before you know it, his development becomes arrested at it's nascent stage.

It's happened to the likes of Lee Sharpe, Neil Webb, Alan Smith, Joe Cole and Theo Walcott is another  in the current set up; but how far has he really progressed as an England International. A player picked in the 2006 World Cup squad, yet had not played a single premier league game for his Club, Arsenal. Fast Forward, 2014 World Cup, and we have Everton centre back John Stones as an appendage to the 23 man squad. The 20 year old only made his first full premier league start for his Club, last January, but he is already deemed talented enough to be an England International. Can that really be the right way to select players?

England pick players and build teams in an incongruent manner. It is rather all over the map. Similarly plans to address the scarcity of talented youngsters. Greg Dyke, the FA Chairman, proposes a B' Team league, to create a wider catchment for English talent. My take is if England have national teams at under 17, 19, 20, and 21 levels, then a synergy of scouting, coaching, incentivising, providing greater impetus, and profile to games and tournaments surrounding these teams would do wonders attracting youngsters. All premier league clubs want good English talent. It would make more sense if the FA ramps up its branding of the youth  teams. How about getting the likes of Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Ledley King, or even David Beckham, names like that, to work within a structure in the respective youth teams. That's a sure fire way to bolster the supply side of players. The supply side will create a trickle down effect to Premier and championship clubs, and England consequently, and suddenly less becomes more. It's more to do with attention, profile, and structure, and less about bleating.

Congrats to England Boss, Roy Hodgson for holding a question and answer session with England fans in Miami, last week. I give him credit for meeting with them, and articulating his intentions. At least, we know we can hold him to his words. He said he would be going out to win the world cup. I had been critical of his reticence in that regard in my last blog.

READ: It Is Roy Hodgson's Trial, Not Wayne Rooney's

After the friendlies in Miami against World cup teams in Ecuador and Honduras, it's blatant England are going to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. They are geared to want to go out and attack, and set the tempo. If you like, play like most contemporary teams try to do.

Whilst it represents a bold move to play in an attacking, more modern style, and England have most of the components to do it, however, i am not sold on the performances from the last two friendlies.

England v Honduras

I do not think Hodgson has the right sort of player to fit into the middle of a trio behind the striker. That is not being critical of any one player, but it was pretty evident in those two games. The player who plays in that position is the brain box for the team's attacking play; and he has to be defensively very aware, because he is in line to dropping into midfield. In short, he has to think like a midfielder, better still be a midfielder.

On the other hand, the team looked short in midfield with regards bodies and variety. If the manager is going to play two holding midfielders, there is an imbalance in the team. The team would be better set up for a 4-3-3 formation. It was also glaring the full backs  are not synchronised to attack down the flanks; neither do the centre halves. Jageilka and Cahill are way too flat. One has to come forward with the ball in order to release the full backs and midfielders.

Blessed with a generation of midfield runners is no guarantee for success. Folks rave about Barkley, Llanna, Oxlade Chamberlain, and Sterling, but the mechanics of the game would suggest all parts of a team have to interact. There is an inherent danger if the manager sticks to this 4-2-3-1 formation. If fusion and interaction make a good team, I'll be hoping the manager does not get ahead of himself. Better stick to a system that generates the right chemistry for this group. Play 4-3-3, Roy!!!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

It Is Roy Hodgson's Trial, Not Wayne Rooney's

The 2014 World Cup is upon us. There is a plethora of debates doing the rounds in different countries about the squads Head Coaches have picked, and the form of some individual players.
Rightly or wrongly, Head Coaches get demonised for one thing or the other at this stage. In 1982, before and during the World Cup finals in Spain, the Italian World Cup winning Coach, Enzo Bearzot, was in the firing line for his squad selection, and for his tactics in the tournament per se, after three draws from their opening group games, prompting the late coach to practically boycott the press - silenzio stampa  (press silence) Suffice to say, Italy went on to win the world cup that year.
England Manager, Roy Hodgson has enjoyed a cordial, and at times cosy relationship with the media than quite a number of his predecessors managed. When the Manager announced his world cup squad a couple of weeks ago, there was little or no fuss overall over his choices. Not even at the exclusion of Ashley Cole, the 107 times capped left back, for 18 year old Southampton green horn, Luke Shaw.

It is scandalous the media have at this late hour contrived to take issue with Wayne Rooney's form, and starting place In Hodgson's team, rather than highlighting the manager's queer decision to over load on young, inexperienced attacking midfielders. Neither have they been able to play any meaningful role in fostering an agenda around the England Team leading up to the world cup. The team has set sail for South America without really connecting with the aspirations of its supporters. 
Manager Roy Hodgson on the other hand, has been bland and tepid with his messages. He has barely pronounced or declared a jot on the state of the team’s evolution under his stewardship, and the media have played lip service to all of this. 
Maybe, it’s about avoiding unfulfilled expectations that the England team has been saddled with in the past; but you do not necessarily succeed by running away from stating your aims before tournaments   

Picking  Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling, Jack Wishere, in midfield, looks brave. Add four strikers, and the squad starts to look asymmetrical, especially given that Wayne Rooney's talent and technique straddles the play maker cum striker genre.

I can imagine Roy Hodgson was disinclined to selecting Garreth Barry and Michael Carrick  due to the possible stigma of having four over-thirty's in his squad of midfielders. Whereas, the rational point should be: aren't they needed? if Captain Steven Gerrard picks-up a debilitating knock in the tournament, there would be potentially huge problems. Only Jack Wilshere has the distributive skills of Gerrard, but he has no experience at world cup level; neither did he have a good season for his Club. 

 Daniel Sturridge is flavour of the month, and the media see him as worthy of the alpha-striker status in the World Cup. Yes, the Liverpool striker had an outstanding season, and was the top English goal scorer in the premier league, but it's deluded, an idea to relegate Wayne Rooney, who at 28, has 38 goals in 90 England games; 158 goals in 307 premier League appearances, to the bench. Who does that? Sturridge is on a hot streak, but it is best not to heap unneeded pressure on him.

Wayne Rooney has been derided and scorned by sections of the media in an unfair and hypocritical way over the last year. He was thrash-talked for asking for a transfer from Man Utd this time last year, when his relationship with Alex Fergusson  soured. Even when he played his way back into the Man Utd team, some in the media ridiculed him for not being as good as Luis Suarez, nor Robin van Persie.

The England XI in the World Cup need Wayne Rooney, and Rooney needs the players around him to fire. If as it appears, Roy Hodgson is committed to playing straight-forward attacking football, then Rooney is needed, and the team benefits from his experience. He is a goal scorer, an all round forward, an intelligent team player. I suppose the media fantasise Wayne Rooney as a wrecking ball, and as that has not materialised over the years, their expectation has morphed into disdain. Persecuting Wayne Rooney is a misplaced agenda, churlish and misguided.

In my opinion, England would be better of with a 4-3-3 formation, simply because it is suitable, sustainable and natural to what Hodgson's first choice eleven would be The back four picks itself; the midfield should be a unit of Lampard, Gerrard. and Wilshere, keeping it tight, efficient, and steady - feeding a trio of runners, creators, and goal scorers in Rooney, Sturridge, and Sterling. These three have the talent to play easily in the attacking channels, with the requisite combinations, skill, speed and penetration coming naturally. These three must not be overly choreographed by the manager. Best left to their own devices, I would reckon. What is needed is encouraging support from the full backs - Baines and Johnson.
No one should forget, nor underestimate how Atletico Madrid's simple but effective brand of football brought them the Spanish title in the land of "tiki-taka"; as well as getting them to the champions league final. 
England's best chance to win the World cup would manifest via pragmatism and efficiency. Simplicity is genius. But I guess after years of self-deprecation and condescending advice from a legion of foreign players and managers who have graced  the premier league, Hodgson may opt to play to the gallery.
Whatever be the case, the world cup is Roy Hodgson’s watershed moment. If England do well with this crop of players, he would be hailed as a genius. The man who introduced young, bold attacking players to a sterile and labouring team. In the absence of him ever stating any clear objectives, his silence would seem golden. 
How ever, if England fumble their lines, Hodgson will be the poster boy for another world cup heart ache. Then his equivocal vibes might well come to haunt him. He would then have to explain where England are heading, and how he intends getting  them there. The penny would have truly dropped after two years of treading water.