Can England win today with Wayne Rooney as captain? 3

Can England flourish with new England captain Wayne Rooney?

England’s World Cup qualifying campaign is here again with another round of games on the horizon, with two  in the next seven days.  England currently sit in a three way tie for first place, with Poland and Montenegro.

The group is rounded out with other minor teams, San Marino & Moldova.  Not soccer power houses by any stretch of the imagination by any means. On paper you would expect England to walk through the group with little or no problem and cruise to easy qualification for Brazil 2014.  Unfortunately games aren’t played on paper and England  come into the game off a shaky and unconvincing performance in a 1-1 draw at Wembley against Ukraine, with England leaving it extremely late to tie up the game.

Too make matters worse, England come  into these games under a cloud of controversy, the John Terry affair prominently swirls over the camp like a dark cloud. Terry retired from England, on the backs of being found guilty by the Football Association in his case of racial abuse against QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. His absence leaves a huge hole in the England line up, at central defender and at captain, where his leadership and influence has been huge.

To add to matters Chelsea’s Ashley Cole has been sucked into the fray as a result of comments made, in reference to his refuted testimony about the Terry case, drawing a hefty fine from the FA and has been left out of the San Marino game by manager Roy Hodgson.

For Hodgson, the continual circus surrounding the England squad only makes his job harder. In addition to the controversy, there are also a number notable injury absences, especially in Steven Gerrard and  Frank Lampard, leaving the squad short on veteran experience.

One bright spot is the welcome return of Wayne Rooney, who Hodgson has named  captain. His presence should be a welcome boost to the squad. Irregardless of the hoopla surrounding the squad and the missing players, England should have more than enough quality to overcome the part/timers of Sam Marino and the game should be used as little more than a warm-up before the “big” game with Poland next week.