Manchester United and England legend Wayne Rooney has praised Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, saying that both managers are helping to the progress of England’s national football team.
Wayne Rooney was a part of England’s team during the 2000s which was dubbed the ‘golden generation’. However, this team exited Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup in the quarter-final stage. Later, England crashed out of the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 in the first knockout stage. Things got worse for England when they exited the 2014 World Cup in the first round. Hopes were high for England in Euro 2016 but they bowed out of the tournament in the last 16 following a shock defeat to minnows Iceland.
However, Gareth Southgate’s team took England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup. Many thought that England’s journey was because of a favorable draw. Such claims may have been put to rest following England’s win over Spain in their own backyard last month.
Rooney said that things have gotten better for the national team lately. He told Sky Sports, “As a team I think we were unlucky on a couple of occasions, on penalties, but I think we could have done better. Maybe if we had those players in this era, when there does seem to be a lot more coaching, a lot more intelligence in terms of how the teams are prepared and set up, I think a lot of coaches, the likes of Guardiola and Klopp coming into the Premier League, are helping a lot of our young players.
I know there is a debate over foreign managers in the Premier League but I believe what they’re doing for the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, players like that, has given them a massive amount of knowledge of how to play the game. It’s my turn to go and watch as a fan now and try to enjoy it that way.”
Rooney also said that the management for England for major tournaments during the 2000s and mid 2010s was a step behind compared to other teams. He said, “I just feel the managers we had were good, but if you’re asking were they at a level of a Spain or German manager, or Italian manager? You look at the Italian side who won the World Cup, quality-wise I don’t think they were as good as a few teams in the tournament, but just tactically they knew what they were doing, they knew their jobs and knew everything, and I think we were just one step behind with that.”
Rooney will play his 120th and final match in an England shirt tonight against USA at Wembley.