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Wayne Rooney to play on left wing

Wayne Rooney will play in a left-wing position for England in his side's warm-up game against Ecuador in Miami on Wednesday, England manager Roy Hodgson confirmed.

Rooney has previously expressed his annoyance at being deployed in a wide midfield role by former boss Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, as he went public in his belief that he "cannot express himself" in that role.

Yet Hodgson has added to the widespread speculation in the English media in recent days that Rooney is not a certain starter at the World Cup, but confirming he will be asked to play in an unfamiliar role for the national team in their penultimate warm-up match.

"He can do that wide role, absolutely," said the England manager. "I think Wayne's a very useful player in the sense you don't have to pin him down and say this is the only position he can play.

"He can play centre-forward, behind the centre-forward and wide. If he's done all of those things at the very top level for Manchester United, there is no reason why I can't use him in those positions as well."

Hodgson hinted that he was tempted to leave Rooney out of his starting line-up for the Ecuador game after he played in England's game against Peru at Wembley last Friday, but he feels the forward needs game time following an injury disrupted end to his season at Manchester United.

"The thinking behind Wayne starting a second game is he only played 60 minutes the other day. He also didn't play too many games [for United] before he joined us," he stated.

"We think he's recovering his match fitness and we think starting the game and playing a part will be to his advantage."

Hodgson also surprisingly confirmed that Manchester City midfielder James Milner will start for England in a right full-back role, as the experienced tactician looks to experiment before his World Cup adventure gets underway in Brazil later this month.

"He's got the qualities to play there," added Hodgson of Milner. "There may be moments in the World Cup where we'd like to use him there. This will give him some experience."

Meanwhile, England captain Steven Gerrard has told the BBC that Hodgson's squad will be practicing penalties ahead of this summer's World Cup, after some poor performances in previous shoot-outs have cost England in major tournaments.

"It's difficult to describe what it is like," said Gerrard, who missed a penalty for England in their 2006 World Cup quarterfinal shoot-out defeat against Portugal.

"Unfortunately for me, I failed in that situation when I took a penalty in a World Cup environment and it was a difficult atmosphere to be in.

"I learned my lessons from that and a couple of years ago I scored the penalty I was asked to take. We are going to practise penalties a lot but it is a difficult situation to put into words and describe it. There is a lot of pressure.

"You have an awful lot more time to think about your penalty and what is at stake is a lot bigger and it is a pressure situation. A penalty shoot-out is a more pressurised situation than any one penalty in a league game.

"I can understand the fixation because we have failed in quite a few shoot-outs but I would say don't get carried away with it because it might never come about. As players, hopefully we perform well enough in 90 minutes or 120 minutes to prevent it going to a shoot-out, but we will be ready for a shoot-out if it comes around."

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