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How not to slide tackle. That is, unless youre Wayne Rooney...

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The third England game is coming up tomorrow morning and it is going to be good. Finally, after much anticipation and discussion, Wayne Rooney is back in the starting line up. The 20 year old prodigy returns to the pitch after he suffered a fracture to his fourth metatarsal in his right foot during one of Manchester United's final league games in the premiership.
Is Rooney as good as he seems? England fans herald him as England's key to football success in Germany this summer. The "white pele" he has been called. I think he might be that good, but honestly- after watching England crawl and gasp their way through their first two group fixtures- it would take a lot of good in a good player to save the England side from what appears to be certain elimination in the first knock-out round by the boot of either Ecuador or Germany. Both teams have been playing class football thus far- they are squaring off behind me on my TV as I type.
Rooney may indeed have what it takes to defibrillate England soccer back to prominence. And, prominence is surely in their potential, especially if you just take the sum of their parts. The problem for England always has been the concept of coming together as a team. Great players, poor team work, bad performance and finally, a worse result.

Here is where the hope lies:

"There are times when Wayne Rooney brings to a football field what a kid who has been guzzling too many E-numbers brings to a classroom. The sight of him diving in a muddy goalmouth, goading David Beckham to try to beat him from the penalty spot, even brought a schoolmasterly admonishment from a protective Sven-Goran Eriksson yesterday. "I thought he was going to injure himself," the England head coach reported. "He wanted to show what a good goalkeeper he was but I wouldn't let him."

The same training session, at Cologne's RheinEnergieStadion, had also seen a grinning Rooney slithering along the rain-soaked turf, like a human cannonball, to try to tackle Jermaine Jenas with his head in a game of piggy-in-the-middle. It was a challenge that the Manchester United striker won. "He's tackling anything that moves," sighed the paternal Eriksson. "Nothing surprises me about Wayne. Nothing."*

Step back Sven, England needs some energy like that. After all, he did win the tackle.

*The Guardian

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