Stuart Pearce Expects Rooney to Start in Euro Opener

May 26, 2016, 13:02 ET from Betfred

MANCHESTER, England, May 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Former England international Stuart Pearce fully expects captain Wayne Rooney to start for England at the Euros.

The former hard-hitting full-back is optimistic about the Three Lions chances in France - and that a successful striking partnership of Premier League hotshots Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane could be key in the nation's quest for international glory for the first time since England won the World Cup in 1966.

Legend Pearce, who is the tough talking Euro 2016 pundit for bookie Betfred, is confident Manchester United talisman Rooney will start for England in the country's opener against Russia in Marseille on June 11, but in midfield.

He said: "Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane tick all boxes and need to start up front. I would try and accommodate them especially if they can play together and they hit it off together. This is not club football, its international football. You turn up and look and see who are the best players. I think Wayne will start the tournament. There is no doubt Roy Hodgson will pick him. Whether he picks him as a striker or in a wider area or alternatively drops him back into midfield, I am not so sure.

"Competition for places is a good thing not a negative. Everyone's position is up for grabs at a major tournament and form will keep you in the team and form will drop you out of the team as well. Wayne is a good footballer. He is one of those individuals who you can probably play in any position and he'll give it a right go for you and do very well. There is not a problem. The one thing you have to do is convince players to play in different positions to what they are used to.

"Wayne has got it in his head that he wants to play in midfield. He looks forward to playing in midfield more so than playing up front. He gets more involvement, gets on the ball a touch more and going forward in his career it's where he may drop to on a permanent basis."

He went on: "There is a lot of energy in the squad. We have got have got a lot of goals in the squad that if for sure. We have got two strikers that have scored twenty odd goals plus between them this season in Kane and Vardy and with Wayne Rooney as well, the top all-time England goal scorer, it's quite exciting in that respect.  I can't remember England ever going into a major tournament with so many goalscorers who have got that many between them.

"Dele Alli, who will get us some goals from midfield too, should start. On form he's been one of the best players in the Premier League this year. It's just where you accommodate him either behind one or two strikers or just slightly deeper. His forte is getting forward, getting into the box and getting goals - and he's done that for Tottenham this year.    

"Kane and Vardy should start up front. I would love to see them paired up.  Wayne is going to have to play just behind them or alternately in a deeper midfield role. That's Roy's call, he works with them every day so he will know them better than me. It's all about picking the players playing extremely well for their clubs and internationally as well."

Stuart Pearce was talking at the launch of Betfred's headline Euro 2016 offer. Betfred will refund all bets on England to win the tournament if the Three Lions are knocked out in a penalty shoot-out.

You can watch Stuart Pearce starring in Betfred's new advert at

SOURCE Betfred