Hodgson: I will play Rooney as a striker

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The England captain has often been deployed in a midfield role for Manchester United but the Three Lions boss insists he will play the 29-year-old as a centre-forward

Roy Hodgson insists he will play Wayne Rooney as a striker when England face Lithuania, despite his recent move into midfield at Manchester United.

The England captain has regularly been deployed in a more withdrawn role at Old Trafford this season, with Louis van Gaal often opting to field Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao or Angel Di Maria as a striker.

Rooney has even dropped into defensive midfield in recent weeks, but Hodgson insists he will field the 29-year-old up front when England face Lithuania in their Euro 2016 qualifier on March 27 and in the subsequent friendly against Italy.

“Well, he’s a goalscorer, isn’t he?” he told reporters. “So one always likes to see one’s goalscorers in positions where they can get into the box, and around the box.

“If you’ve got several other goalscorers and you can afford to use one of your goalscorers a bit further back, that’s fine. But he’s our top goalscorer in the qualifiers, he’s just a few goals away now from being England’s leading goalscorer, so I hope he will continue to score goals for us.”

Rooney has scored 46 goals for England, and is just three strikes off Bobby Charlton’s all-time scoring record for his country.

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