x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Rooney will take a central role for England

Wayne Rooney's deployment in his favoured central role for England could be key to the country's move to the verge of World Cup qualification at Kazakhstan.

ALMATY // Wayne Rooney's deployment in his favoured central role for England could be key to the country's move to the verge of World Cup qualification at Kazakhstan today. Rooney has spent much of the season with Manchester United playing on the left of an attacking trio, but is likely to play in Almaty in the position in which he forged his reputation. "The position I play for England is the one I like playing most," he said.

"I haven't played that position for a while for United. Of course it's the manager's choice, but I've always said my best position is playing up front." Rooney, 23, has hit seven goals in his last five internationals but has needed 19 games to record the same for United. A victim of his own versatility and improved discipline, Rooney is often forced out of his favoured position by Cristiano Ronaldo - who started out at United as an orthodox winger before hitting 67 goals in the past two years, most of them from a central striking position.

With England seeking a sixth straight qualifying win, Rooney is likely to start as a deep-lying forward behind Emile Heskey or Peter Crouch, and swap with Steven Gerrard on the left of midfield throughout the match. * AP Al Jazeera +1, 7pm