Mourinho exclusive: Wayne Rooney is better in the centre

The Rio Report

Jose Mourinho has exclusively told Yahoo that a spot on the left of the England attack is not the "best position" for Wayne Rooney, who "loses a bit of his danger" when moved away from the centre of the pitch.

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Debate is raging about how best to use Rooney after he started on the left of England’s 4-2-3-1 formation as they opened their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Italy.

Rooney’s positioning allowed Roy Hodgson to deploy Raheem Sterling behind Daniel Sturridge, and the young Liverpool star repaid him with a performance of real verve and quality.

That begs the question: where should England use Rooney in their second group game against Uruguay, when they will be desperate for a win?

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While Mourinho - Yahoo’s Global Football Ambassador - said Rooney performed the job asked of him to a high standard, even contributing with the assist for Sturridge’s equaliser, he believes his best position is in the centre.

“I don’t think it is the best position for Wayne,” said Mourinho in an exclusive interview, “but I think many, many times players must do sacrifices for their team and I think Wayne did well.

“I think in this moment after defeat it is quite easy and it is a normal tendency to try and find the reasons for the defeat but I think it is fair to say that the reason for the England defeat was a great Italy.

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“England played very, very well. I don’t remember seeing England play so well in an important competition like the World Cup.

“Obviously Roy was trying to play at the same time Rooney, Sterling and Welbeck with Sturridge, and to do that somebody has to play a bit more on the side and Wayne did his job.

“He got an assist for the goal with good participation in the game. But he loses a bit of his danger because he is naturally a goalscorer when he plays more in central positions.

“England are obviously not happy because that situation is now an extreme situation: they cannot lose another match in the group phase.

“In the next match against Uruguay it is forbidden to lose. In my opinion the English team had a very, very good positive game [against Italy].”

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