Wayne Rooney tells England to drop Jack Grealish and pick Marcus Rashford vs Germany

Jack Grealish impressed for England in their 1-0 win over Czech Republic (Picture: Getty)

Wayne Rooney fears Germany represent the worst possible opponents for England in the knockout stages of Euro 2020 and has urged Gareth Southgate to be cautious with his team selection for the Wembley showdown.

The Three Lions eased into the last 16 of the tournament after topping their section, despite scoring just two goals from their three matches, while their oldest rivals only just survived the group of death, edging out Hungary thanks to Leon Goretzka’s late equaliser in midweek.

With home advantage to factor in, England represent justifiable favourites with the bookmakers, but Rooney believes Southgate must make significant changes to his starting XI if his side it to capitiise on Germany’s weaknesses.

Although a self-confessed fan of Jack Grealish, Rooney insists Southgate would be better off dropping the Aston Villa talisman, starting his old teammate Marcus Rashford and utilise his pace on the counter.

The Manchester United forward came into the tournament nursing an injury and has been used sparingly so far, but Rooney believes the time has come for the 23-year-old to be let off the leash.

Marcus Rashford has been used sparingly by Gareth Southgate so far (Picture: Getty)

In his column for The Times, Rooney wrote: ‘After all my championing of Jack Grealish, I wouldn’t play him from the start against Germany. He was one of England’s better players against the Czech Republic and it is not that my opinion of him has changed.

‘My thinking is entirely down to how the Germans play. Different opponents demand different approaches and Tuesday’s game is tailor-made for Marcus Rashford – but not Jack.

‘The more players you have who want to take the ball to feet, the more Germany can press, so instead of Jack I’d be looking to have runners either side of Harry Kane.

‘My instruction would be to attack the spaces behind their wing backs when they go forward and make runs down the channels to the sides of their centre backs – especially given Mats Hummels’s problems against pace.

Jordan Henderson managed 45 minutes against Czech Republic (Picture: Getty)

‘Rashford is ideal for the job and one of Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka or Jadon Sancho would complete my forward line. Raheem has been in brilliant form and Saka impressed against the Czechs, while Sancho knows the German players the best, so I don’t think you could lose with whichever option you chose.

‘The first thought when England win it should be to play into the channels and have Rashford, and Sterling/Saka/Sancho going in behind. Having runners will get England up the pitch and take Germany’s counterpress away.’

Rooney, meanwhile, has advised Southgate to play without a recognised No.10 and instead go with a more conservative midfield trio comprising of Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips.

He added: ‘Provided Jordan Henderson is fit I’d start him alongside Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips but Henderson has to be 100 per cent. In a game of this size, where Germany will keep the ball and make you run, you will suffer if you’re not completely there physically.

‘I’d use Jude Bellingham instead if there is the slightest doubt about Henderson. That extra man in midfield would help Gareth Southgate to start the game solidly, feel how it’s going and maybe look to make the difference by introducing the quality of Grealish or Phil Foden from the bench. Against Germany you have to be cautious.

‘They are the toughest second-round opponents England could have – I would rather be up against Portugal or France.’

MORE : Joe Cole wants Mason Mount to start ahead of Jack Grealish for England vs Germany clash

MORE : Bukayo Saka sends message to ‘top player’ Jack Grealish after England win vs Czech Republic

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