Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes has revealed through his Paddy Power blog his favoured England starting XI to face Italy on Saturday night would feature Wayne Rooney as a number nine with Daniel Sturridge occupying space on the the right-flank.

Scholes' line-up contrasts with his recent comments on Rooney where the Manchester United legend questioned whether his former teammate deserves to be in Hodgson's starting plans.

"There's a chance he's worn out. Wayne's peak may have been a lot younger than what we'd expect of footballers traditionally," Scholes said last month. "Age 28 or 29 has been the normal 'peak'. With Wayne, it could have been when he scored 27 league goals in 2011/2012 when he was 26."

"I'm not saying Wayne needs to be dropped but if form doesn't get up to scratch in the warm-ups, or in the first game of the World Cup, it'll be interesting to see if the England management team has the balls to make that decision."

But now, the United legend believes England boss Roy Hodgson should sacrifice Sturridge - who hit 24 goals last season - and leave the Liverpool striker to occupy space on the flank to accommodate Rooney in a central role up-front.


Scholes would also use youngster Ross Barkley rather than Jordan Henderson or Jack Wilshere in midfield while Raheem Sterling and Danny Welbeck - should the latter recover from a thigh problem - would join Rooney and Sturridge up-front, with Adam Lallana left on the bench.

"The strength of the England squad is this new breed of players who are enthusiastic, athletic and attack-minded. There is no point taking people like Raheem Sterling or Barkley to Brazil 'for the experience'. Play them. Some might say it's risky. But these players have the ability and fitness to get the ball back if they lose it (hopefully not in dangerous positions). You want them to attack and give the opposition problems," he said.

"I was watching the England vs Ecuador friendly in an airport lounge, a bit back from the screen. In the first-half Barkley went on a run and I thought, 'Bloody hell, Rooney is that?'"