Welbeck leaps to Rooney defence

The forward backs his under-fire England team-mate despite calls for Roy Hodgson to make changes for Thursday's crucial World Cup Group D encounter with Uruguay
By Greg Stobart in Rio de Janeiro

Danny Welbeck believes that Wayne Rooney can still make a difference for England despite questions over whether his Manchester United team-mate will start in the crucial World Cup match against Uruguay on Thursday.

Rooney produced an underwhelming display in an unfamiliar role on the left wing in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Italy and admitted that he does not feel certain of his place in the team ahead of the trip to Sao Paulo.

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"I think, first and foremost, Wayne Rooney is a class player," Welbeck declared to reporters at England's Urca training base on Monday. "Wherever he is on the pitch, he can make an impact.

"He's got 93 caps and he's very experienced, he's scored more international goals than anyone else in the squad. He can make a difference on the pitch."

Welbeck, who started on the right against the Azzurri, understands why Rooney might feel frustrated with playing out of position but refuses to be drawn on whether or not Hodgson should make changes for the Uruguay fixture.

He added: "I think it can be quite frustrating at times for anyone playing out of position but you've just got to deal with it. It's the manager's decision and you've just got to respect that.

"Everyone knows Wayne Rooney's qualities. It's not for me to say who should be playing and who shouldn't."