Roy Hodgson is crossing his fingers Wayne Rooney can hit a rich vein of form for Manchester United, so England can get the benefit.
Although Rooney started the World Cup double-header in fine form, skippering his country in a competitive game for the first time, and also scoring twice in the 5-0 win over San Marino, he ended it in disappointing fashion as he was shunted into a wide role so Manchester United team-mate Tom Cleverley could switch inside. And when that did not work, Rooney was replaced.
Hodgson does not feel there is too much wrong with Rooney at present, and if the 26-year-old can click into gear for his club, so much the better. And he said: "I don't get an awful lot of time with them so if he's playing as well for Manchester United as he was before we played Poland we will be trying to tap into it."
He added: "That's what you do as an international manager.
"Wayne was fantastically good for Manchester United in the last couple of games and gave a fantastic performance against San Marino.
"Then he goes out against Poland, in totally different circumstances, and doesn't play quite so well.
"Let's not complicate the issue by then asking where am I going to play him. I don't think we need to concern ourselves with that.
"It's going to be interesting to see where he plays for Manchester United. I'm sure I will try to tap into that."
After returning from his gashed thigh, Rooney has found himself in a more withdrawn role at United as Sir Alex Ferguson tries to find a way of maximising his attacking potential, whilst shoring up United's midfield.
Having said so often that he views Rooney as a striker, Hodgson can hardly follow that lead. However, as a national manager - who will have his players together for a total of six days over the next five months - he sometimes has no option than to follow the lead of others.
- Manchester United
- Wayne Rooney
- Roy Hodgson