England football legend Wayne Rooney has suggested he would drop his former club teammate Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugals starting eleven in the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The biggest sporting spectacle on the globe kicked off with a starry opening ceremony at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al-Khor, one of the host cities in Qatar. In the tournament opener between hosts Qatar and Ecuador, the latter won 2-0. Qatar, thus, became the first host team in FIFA WC to lose their opening game.

‘Drop CR7’

Rooney – who is a part of the experts’ panel for Sports18 and Jio Cinema for Qatar 2022 – when asked who he would start, bench and drop between Lionel Messi, Harry Kane and the Portuguese star, said he would drop Ronaldo because he stopped playing for his Premier League club Manchester United.

“I would start Messi, bench Kane and drop Ronaldo because he stopped playing for his club,” Rooney said in his first appearance on Match Centre as an expert panellist on Sports18 and JioCinema.

The former England captain – who is the leading scorer for England in FIFA World Cup – recognised Kane as the key to England’s progress, and Kane will overtake him as England’s top scorer.

Harry Kane

“He is a goal-scorer. If England goes far in this tournament, it is going to be because of Harry Kane. I hope he scores those goals because England needs them if they have to win,” said Rooney, adding it will be a tough contest against Iran but predicted a 1-0 win for England. “I hope he does, but I do not think it will be tomorrow (Monday),” said Rooney if Kane could overtake him in the match against Iran tonight.

Foden – the X Factor for Three Lions

Speaking about the match tonight against Iran, Rooney singled out Phil Foden as the ‘X’ factor. “I think with his ability, he is never quite short of form. If he brings the form he has shown for Manchester City for England, it gives England an extra dimension to move ahead,” Rooney explained.

When quizzed about picking one team to go all the way, Rooney backed Germany. “England has got a chance like all teams, but I’ve got a sneaky feeling for Germany. It is hard for me to say that. I think Germany is really organised and it is hard to beat them in the way they play. So, I have a small feeling for Germany,” he said.