Wayne Rooney sees benefit of moving backwards to go forward with England

• Captain to adopt midfield role alongside Dele Alli in attacking lineup
• ‘I feel, with my football intelligence, I can play there and further my career’

Wayne Rooney believes experience has changed his game “for the better” as the England captain prepares to venture into uncharted territory with the national side by taking on a midfield brief in the opening Group B fixture against Russia.

Roy Hodgson will take the unprecedented step of asking Rooney and Dele Alli to play either side of the midfield anchor, Eric Dier, in an attack-minded lineup which will involve Adam Lallana, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling operating across the frontline. The Manchester United player will be earning his 112th cap and is England’s record scorer with 52 goals, having mustered seven in qualifying, but was utilised in midfield over the final few months of Louis van Gaal’s tenure at Old Trafford.

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