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Rooney shouldn't go to World Cup - Hudson

06 May 2014, 19:46

London - Wayne Rooney should be left out of the World Cup team because he has had a poor season with Manchester United and England cannot rely on him when the going gets tough, according to former Chelsea midfielder Alan Hudson.

"I wouldn't pick him. I'm surprised everyone still calls him world class," the ex-England international told the Reuters Global Sports Forum (https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum/) on Tuesday.

"United have been awful this season and I put some of that down to Rooney."

One of the most gifted players of the 1970s who only won two caps after being overlooked by successive England managers, Hudson also called on coach Roy Hodgson to take 19-year-old Everton midfielder Ross Barkley to next month's World Cup in Brazil and build the next England team around him.

But the former Chelsea, Stoke City and Arsenal midfielder pulled no punches on Rooney, the 28-year-old United striker whose 38 goals in 89 England appearances make him the country's fifth top scorer of all time.

Rooney is 11 goals behind Bobby Charlton's England record and is set to play in his third World Cup despite failing to score in the previous two editions.

"He is not world class because he's never proved it on the world stage," said the 62-year-old Hudson. "He turns up every now and then and great players don't just turn up every now and then.

"He's got to be consistent at the highest level. We made Rooney into a 'superstar' at a very young age when he didn't deserve to be put in that bracket.

"If you said to a United fan, 'who would you prefer up front - Rooney or Eric Cantona?' - I think the answer would be Cantona every time."

Hudson was more complimentary about Barkley who, like Rooney, has started his career at Everton.


The teenager has made a major breakthrough this season, playing 34 times in the Premier League and impressing with his running, awareness and goalscoring which included a spectacular curling strike from 25 metres against Manchester City on Saturday.

Hudson, who knows a thing or two about midfield artistry, urged Hodgson to include Barkley in his squad for the World Cup where England face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D.

"I thought at the start of the season that Jack Wilshere was going to be the young kid coming through," he explained.

"But this Ross Barkley is the new kid on the block now. He's a fabulous player. People have been putting him in the same mould as the great Duncan Edwards but the problem England have with players like him is getting the ball to him.

"When we have great inside forwards we often bypass them by playing long balls. With Ross Barkley we have to give him the ball, he's got wonderful ability," said Hudson.

"I think he's the one young kid at the moment who can do things that we haven't seen English players do for a long, long time. He is exceptional.

"I think the most important point is that Hodgson must take him just to give him experience. He's the sort of player you build a future team around."


While Hudson enjoyed a lot of success at Stoke he still has a soft spot in his heart for Chelsea, the club he helped to FA Cup glory in 1970 and a European Cup Winners' Cup triumph in 1971, and lives close to Stamford Bridge nowadays.

He believes Jimmy Greaves, Ruud Gullit, Peter Osgood and Gianfranco Zola, "as well as myself", were Chelsea's best-ever players and is concerned about how the team will improve on their likely third-place finish this season.

"I think the problem today is the inconsistency in their approach. I think they use too many formations and I don't understand why Chelsea only play with one striker up front," added Hudson.

"In our day we played 4-2-4, that reverted to a 4-4-2 with the wingers dropping back when we lost the ball. That system keeps it simple for the players and the fans.

"Jose Mourinho used that system when he first managed Chelsea, using Arjen Robben and Damien Duff out wide, and I don't know why he doesn't do that now.

"The big problem at Chelsea is they are always talking about the players they are going to buy. They should be buying players for the long term, not the short term."

Hudson also said that loaning Romelu Lukaku to West Bromwich Albion last season and Everton this term was a mistake.

The Belgium striker has scored 31 league goals for those two clubs combined while Chelsea have struggled up front.

"Look at Lukaku. Why loan him to Everton when he's a definite player for the long term?," said Hudson.

"It was a ridiculous loan. Stats don't lie. Loaning him to Everton was madness."

Although Chelsea are expected to buy a striker at the end of the campaign, Hudson says they are still struggling to replace Didier Drogba, who left two years ago, and believes Diego Costa of their Champions League conquerors Atletico Madrid is not necessarily the answer.

"Drogba is the sort of player who only comes along every once in a while. Drogba was like Peter Osgood, a magician," he explained.

"I didn't like the way Diego Costa played in the first leg against Chelsea a couple of weeks ago. John Terry had him in his pocket.

"If it was down to me I'd keep my money in my pocket on that front."

- Reuters


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