The Three Lions improved after the striker left the field against Denmark, with the Manchester United man disappointing in front of goal and failing to complete a single dribblePOLL
Roy Hodgson is too sage and experienced a manager to draw any dramatic conclusions on the evidence of 30 minutes of a friendly against Denmark but he would surely have been able to detect the improvement in his side's performance which coincided with Wayne Rooney's substitution.
The Manchester United forward is still painted as England's talisman, earmarked to inherit the captaincy from Steven Gerrard after the World Cup and the player around which Hodgson's attack looks likely to be built this summer in Brazil.
Nothing in Rooney's recent displays for club and indeed country suggests that he is deserving of such billing and status, however. Against Denmark he performed adequately, completing an impressive 94 per cent of his passes but never threatened to make a telling impact on the game.
Imagination and audacity used to be the hallmarks of his game but England, in particular, have become used to insipid displays rather than inspirational. Against an average Danish side Rooney failed to find the target with any of his five attempts, was dispossessed on two occasions and failed to complete any successful dribbles.
In the past England have had few credible alternatives to Rooney but, with Daniel Sturridge in the form of his life, the Liverpool striker's goalscoring instincts should not be compromised by Hodgson's insistence on playing Rooney through the middle, forcing the former Chelsea man out to the wing.
England appeared a more cohesive, mobile and incisive attacking unit once Sturridge was restored to the centre and it was no surprise to see him head home the only goal of the game, converting a cross from the equally impressive Adam Lallana with 10 minutes to go.
Rooney will clearly be one of the first names on Hodgson's 23-man squad list but should he be the man around whom the Three Lions boss shapes his plans or has Sturridge now become England's key man?
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