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‘Do not bank on Rooney’

London: Wayne Rooney would not be an automatic choice in Roy Hodgson’s England starting line-up at the World Cup, according to former club and country teammate Paul Scholes.

Attention inevitably focuses on Rooney every time England appear at a major tournament and next month in Brazil will be no different as the Manchester United forward looks to finally make an impact at a World Cup having yet to score in two finals.

Rooney is expected to start England’s opening Group D game against Italy in tandem with Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge but with exciting attacking talents such as Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana all providing options, Scholes believes Rooney will have to be on his toes.

“I’m not saying Wayne needs to be dropped but if his form doesn’t get up to scratch in the warm-ups, or in the first game of the World Cup, it’ll be interesting to see if the England management team to make that decision,” Scholes said in his column on a betting related website.

“We have quality forwards in the squad this time. He will have competition. So don’t bank on Rooney.”

Rooney was disappointing in Germany in 2006, failing to score in the tournament after recovering from a broken foot.

He was also poor in South Africa four years later, looking disgruntled and again failing to score. (Reuters)