Bacon’s Bites: It’s time for Hodgson to be brave and Tai Woffinden to show some loyalty

England's Jamie Vardy (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with teammate Kyle

England's Jamie Vardy (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with teammate Kyle Walker (right) during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 29, 2016. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to FA restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the FA. No editing except cropping. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see www.paphotos.com/info/ for full restrictions and further information. - Credit: PA

What do you do with a problem like Wayne Rooney?

Do you start him in England’s Euro opener against Russia on Saturday, June 11, or do you, as some have suggested, not take him at all?

Poor old Wayne.

You are soon nobody’s hero in sport, not just football, as he is finding out to his cost right now.

Having only a few months ago been lauded by many England fans for notching 50 goals for his country, the Manchester United striker now finds many of those same fans saying he shouldn’t be in the England starting line-up, especially after the team’s win in Berlin on Saturday night.


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So, what do you do?

I must confess for someone who has had the misfortune to watch England for more years than I care to remember, there has always been an element of playing ‘name players’ and very few managers I can think of over the years have taken risks with team selection.

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The ‘tried and tested’ regulars have been handed cap after cap for decades, while the trophy cabinet at FA HQ remains empty.

So, come on Roy, what have you got to lose?

Of course you take Rooney, he’s got to go.

But look at your hungry young players, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Dele Alli, Ross Barkley.

Trust them, give them their places in the opening game.

No England midfielder has excited me more since Paul Gascogine, than Alli.

But you watch. Alli will be ‘kept under wraps’, not wanting to ‘over-play’ him.

A ‘no-risk’ strategy that has failed so spectacularly over the years.

Germany had seven players 23 years old and under in their World Cup-winning squad of 2014. England need to have at least that.

Because quite frankly I think most of us are sick to death of England’s tepid failures in major football tournaments – hence the Twitter ‘melt-down’ after England won in Germany at the weekend, albeit in a friendly.

While I don’t like to compare cricket with football, England’s current success in the World T20 in India has been built up over a number of years.

Players like Joe Root, Jason Roy and Jos Buttler have been given their opportunities on the world stage long before their current successes in the World Cup.

And now the country is reaping the rewards of that foresight.

So, come on Roy, blood these players on the biggest of stages.

They won’t let you down.

What have you got to lose?

Loyalty works both ways, Tai

He’s the current world speedway champion and current British champion but Tai Woffinden has caused fury among many British fans of the shale this week.

Woffinden, who has won the last three British finals, announced he won’t be defending his crown at Belle Vue later in the season.

That, coupled with the fact Woffinden doesn’t ride in the UK, hasn’t gone down well with many, who feel he should show just a tad bit more loyalty to the sport in this country. It’s a tough call.

Woffinden is world champion and in a sport with few rewards, that title alone can guarantee good pay days – understandably, he wants to concentrate on winning it again.

Whether a British final win pays good money, I know not.

But I think the 25-year-old, who was born in Scunthorpe but spent his early years raised in Australia, has missed the point.

Already not racing in the country he represents on the world stage – something the likes of former world champions Nicki Pedersen (Denmark), Tomasz Gollob (Poland) and Tony Rickardsson (Sweden), would never have dreamt of doing, Woffinden has retained the support of most of the British speedway public.

They don’t want much in return and they admire his determination and racing. But fans are a two-way street and loyalty works both ways.

The British final is one event, on one night, in the country that gave him his big break in a sport he loves.

I think he has made a poor decision.

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