"On form he is as good as any striker England have and deserves to play."
The absence of Wayne Rooney in both of the recent England friendly matches has sparked a lot of debate regarding whether Rooney should be picked for Euro 2016.
Rooney announced he expects to resume full training this month, after which the striker will have to demonstrate clear signs he is fit and on form to warrant an inclusion in the Euro 2016 squad.
But has Rooney peaked? Certainly the recently formed England team demonstrated they stood a good chance of success without Rooney's presence, with a number of new players including Harry Kane accountable for the epic win against Germany.
Below, Newitts takes a look at the arguments for and against the inclusion of the England team captain at Euro 2016.
He's our captain
Rooney is currently captain of England and would make a great captain in the Euros. He has proved to the country that he is a good skipper, showing impressive leadership skills when the team have needed him the most. He could also be a great influence on some of the young, emerging players who may require advice from a more experienced player. The team needs a strong leader and captain to carry them successfully through.
He scores goals
Let's not forget that Rooney scores goals, in fact, he has scored more goals than any other Englishman and was England's top-scorer in qualifying. We need experienced goal scorers we can rely on in the Euro 2016 tournament because without the goals, we won't win the games. Rooney may not have the strongest tournament record, but he does have the authority, experience, and those 51 goals.
What you see is what you get
Rooney's form has always been black and white. Following his latest injury, it will take him a while to recover, but he has time to do this. If he plays in the six league games plus three friendlies before the Euros, that should be enough time for Hodgson to determine whether he is ready to lead the attack. Sam Wallace comments; "On form he is as good as any striker England have and deserves to play. Off-form he will not play ahead of Kane if the latter is scoring goals and fit."
He reacts well under pressure
Rooney has proven he can respond well to adversity in the past, therefore his return from injury may have a positive effect on England's performance. Never has a player been under more pressure to justify his position within the squad; how he responds to the pressure could be detriment to the future success of the team. Furthermore, if he does well in the friendly games before the tournament, the argument to keep him will only become stronger. Let's not forget, he is the England captain for a reason.
Does Hodgson have the backbone?
Will Roy Hodgson be able to demonstrate the backbone that many past England managers have not? As a country, England does not always react kindly to change, and many fans will feel it is unfair and unjustified if Rooney was left out of the line-up. But, nothing in Rooney's recent body language has suggested that he will not tolerate being dropped. In a recent press conference he said he could not take his place for granted. Whatever Hodgson's decision, he'll have to be prepared for the reaction that follows.
He's just recovered from injury
Wayne Rooney has been out of action recovering from injury for the past 6 weeks and will therefore need some time to regain his full fitness - time the England team haven't got with the start of the Euro 2016 championship only weeks away. Can Rooney return to full fitness and compete on the same level as some of the new, younger players who have recently joined the squad? Or will his recent injury slow him and the team down.
His past experience at tournaments
Aside from his phenomenal debut performance in Euro 2004, Rooney's experience of international tournaments has waned, in fact, some would go as far to say it has been disappointing. Whether it has been injury, lack of form or bad temperedness that has kept him from performing well, the country as a whole has been hugely underwhelmed at times, and there is nothing to say that at Euro 2016 anything will change. Too often caution and anxiety have ruined England's progress in games - the new squad proved they could be bold and confident in Germany, without Rooney's presence.
Harry Kane is one of England's most watched players at present and most likely to be England's first choice of centre-forward. If Roy Hodgson goes with two strikers in a 4-4-2 formation, Rooney's best chance is as Kane's strike partner, or at the tip of that midfield. But if Hodgson opts for a 4-3-3 formation, Rooney's option will be to play as a wide forward, which is not his best position.
New exciting players
An influx of new players have joined the England squad, meaning 30 year old Rooney is now in direct competition with players such as Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Theo Walcott, to name but a few. The point being that Hodgson now has many options and will perhaps become less reliant on Rooney. England is definitely crying out for new, fresh, youthful players, and now it has some.
Is Rooney fair game?
Rooney should only be offered a place in Euro 2016 if his form and fitness dictate so. Despite his past experience to include record goal scores, his popularity both on and off the pitch and his leadership skills, they should all come second fiddle to his ability to perform. If Hodgson starts him in the first game against Russia on June 11th and his form and fitness is not up to scratch, he'll lose respect from his peers and the rest of the country.
Do YOU think Rooney should play in Euro 2016 this summer? We'd love to hear your thoughts below.