Euro 2012: Rooney will spark Three Lions into life - Ormsby

ANDY MAN: Andy Carroll (above) and Wayne Rooney would make a perfect pair against the Italians.
ANDY MAN: Andy Carroll (above) and Wayne Rooney would make a perfect pair against the Italians.
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Leeds United legend Brendan Ormsby answers your questions.

Hi Brendan.

Roy Hodgson has taken stick for setting England up as a defensive side, but it’s worked so far! At least we’ve been playing as a team in this tournament. Would you make any changes for the Italy game?

R Williams, Cookridge

People have complained there’s no spark about England but they have qualified through to the knockout stages as group winners, which is the first job done, and they haven’t been beaten.

I have to say I thought Ukraine were the better team on Tuesday, especially in the first half, and the goal we scored was a poor one from their point of view. But you take anything you can get.

Now we’re into the knockout stages, it’s basically the cream of the crop with most of the big boys there. The good teams who will all raise their game.

You have to go for a win and England must step up their game as well. You just wonder where it will come from. There’s got to be a spark from someone.

Wayne Rooney got his goal and 80-odd minutes in against Ukraine. He looked rusty, but as an opposing team when you see someone like him playing on the other team in the tunnel, it can intimidate you as Rooney is a world-class player, in my opinion.

Danny Welbeck is still coming along and learning the game, while Andy Carroll still has a lot to learn, despite scoring a great header against the Swedes. But teams will fear Rooney the most.

In general, we’ve got to keep the ball a bit better. Ukraine kept it quite well on Tuesday but as soon as we got it, we kept hitting long balls and gave the ball straight back to them.

I look at Scott Parker and he does the job, but reminds me of Ray Wilkins, aka “The Crab” as he just seems to go sideways and backwards! But that’s his game and how Roy wants England to play. You can’t fault his work-rate, even if he’s a 1950s throwback with his hair style.

Parker gives it five or 10 yards but the ball doesn’t go anywhere or seem to cross the halfway line. But he keeps it. It’s not good to watch, but it’s what Roy wants and it’s going well at the minute.

James Milner and Ashley Young haven’t impressed me at all, to be fair, and as for Theo Walcott, I don’t really rate him either. He’s quick, but for me he is brain dead as a footballer if that’s not a silly thing to say. Welbeck is still learning as well.

Everyone is saying ‘Thank God we’ve only got Italy and not Spain’. Years ago, we would have been saying the opposite and we’d have wanted to avoid the Italians.

Italy will be a hard game and now is when we get to the real football – the knockout stages. Everyone puts a little bit more effort in.

I don’t think the Italians are as good as they used to be, but they are still strong and have been hard to beat this tournament.

I’d actually play Carroll ahead of Welbeck against Italy. He gives us an option to get high crosses in if he plays and he got on the end on a super cross by Steven Gerrard against Sweden and showed what he can do. He put a lot of power into it and it was a classic centre-forward’s header. We don’t have that option when Welbeck and Rooney are up there.

Having Carroll up top would enable Rooney to float around into the hole and I think we could cause Italy more trouble doing that, instead of having two strikers leaning up against the back four, which can make it easier for the centre-halves.

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