Wayne Rooney says playing alongside midfield greats like Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes has prepared him for his late-career drop back from a regular striking role.
Manchester United and England captain Rooney has shone in midfield at Euro 2016 so far, with his stellar performances set to earn him protected status and a rest ahead of the knockout stages as Roy Hodgson’s side round off the Group B campaign against Slovakia on Monday.
Already England’s record goalscorer, and second only to Bobby Charlton in United’s striking stakes, Rooney says it should be no surprise to see him moving down the pitch as his career goes on.
“It was always going to happen,” he said. “I think I said it when I was about 24 that one day I would go back into midfield and that has happened over the last couple of months.
“I have played with some of the best midfielders England has produced in Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes and I’m not so naive to play with those players and not notice what they were doing, knowing that one day I would be playing in that position.
“I have watched them when playing with them and training with them and I have tried to take bits from each of them and add my own way of playing.”