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Biting Back: Rooney a risk for England

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KRAKOW, POLAND - JUNE 17:  Wayne Rooney during an England press conference during the UEFA Euro 2012 on June 17, 2012 in Krakow, Poland.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

KRAKOW, POLAND - JUNE 17: Wayne Rooney during an England press conference during the UEFA Euro 2012 on June 17, 2012 in Krakow, Poland. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Scott Heavey

KRAKOW, POLAND - JUNE 17: Wayne Rooney during an England press conference during the UEFA Euro 2012 on June 17, 2012 in Krakow, Poland. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Selecting Wayne Rooney for England’s final group game against Ukraine tonight is a no-brainer.

That does not mean, however, that the selection is without risk.

Rooney’s talent as a footballer is beyond doubt, and that’s why England manager Roy Hodgson is changing a winning team to accommodate him.

Even so, ‘unleashing’ someone with his temperament into the cauldron of a vital game against the Euro 2012 co-hosts should perhaps carry a health warning.

Rooney is desperate to succeed on the big stage, to prove that he really is one of the best, as opposed to just one of the richest, footballers on the planet.

But, after his explosive, sensational introduction to tournament football at Euro 2004, things haven’t gone so well for the Scouser.

England fans will recall his ignominious departure from the World Cup in 2006, courtesy of the attempted castration of Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvallo.

Note, too, the frustration of a patently unfit Rooney at the last World Cup in South Africa two years ago, and the violent challenge that led to him sitting out the first two Group C matches at this tournament.

I fear a ‘Gazza, 1991 FA Cup final’ moment of madness. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

Belfast Telegraph