Germany legend Lothar Matthaus has taken a U-turn on his stance on Wayne Rooney's future months after he urged the Manchester United star to retire from international football. The World Cup winner had earlier said time with the national team was over after England suffered a shock defeat against Iceland in the Round of 16 clash to crash out of 2016 European Championship.
However, Matthaus now believes that newly-appointed United manager Jose Mourinho will help Rooney deliver.
"A lot has changed since, most importantly at United under Jose Mourinho, and I think it was right for Sam Allardyce to hand him the captain's armband for the World Cup campaign," Matthaus told The Sun.
Rooney should not play in the midfield and Mourinho has done the right thing by giving the United skipper more time at the No. 10 position, according to the 55-year-old.
A lot was said about the way former manager Louis van Gaal used his skipper during his tenure with the Premier League club. The Dutchman firmly believed that Rooney could contribute more as a midfielder. Matthaus though feels Rooney lacked confidence during the last season.
"Rooney should be playing at No. 10. He should never have played in that deep role — you could tell in the summer he simply didn't know what it was about. He was working hard but didn't look or feel confident. From a distance, it didn't look as if Rooney and Louis van Gaal had a great relationship but Mourinho knows how to treat superstars," the Geraman said.
Matthaus opined Rooney's experience will be crucial to both United and England's success. "He still has a lot of quality and in a young team his experience can be important. Mourinho wants him to be a leader of his team and Allardyce will be the same."
Reflecting on Allardyce's appointment as England coach, Matthaus remained optimistic about English Football Association's approach to hire a coach from the Premier League.
"Allardyce does not come into the job with a great name like some of his predecessors, especially Sven-Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello. But he does come straight from the Premier League and it's a sign the FA want to go in a new direction with him," Matthaus said.
Notably, the former Sunderland manager got off to a winning start as Adam Lallana's late strike helped England beat Slovakia 1-0 in Sunday's World Cup Qualifiers.