Wayne Rooney heads into this summer's European Championships as England's captain and all-time leading goalscorer a man who also happens to captain one of the biggest clubs in the world, Manchester United and is heading into the tournament fully fit. Most countries would rejoice at that news as it would create a greater sense of optimism, but that isn't the case for England.
Instead, fans have spent the majority of the build-up to the Euros debating whether or not Rooney should be starting with some people even questioning if he deserved a place in the squad at all. Stuart Pearce is not one of those people and he believes that the experienced striker will be vital to England's success.
Only England would write him off
Pearce believes that "Only England" would "write-off Rooney so quickly" given everything he has accomplished in his career. Fans have argued that Roy Hodgson should focus on the young and upcoming talent that is in the squad for these Euros such as Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy instead of giving Rooney more game time. Whilst Hodgson is likely to start Rooney in midfield rather than up front that debate doesn't really have much backing, yet England fans still find ways to complain about him.
Some grumble that he has lost too much pace whilst others state he has never performed in a tournament. Regardless of how many complain they will ultimately fall upon deaf ears as Hodgson is set to start his captain and if Rooney continues his form of late he will stand a good chance of silencing his critics.
Despite not being one of Hodgson's new young stars the pressure on Rooney's shoulders will not change as he will play a vital role, something Pearce is certain of. The former England defender believes Rooney will "play a big part" and that he is "certainly" worth taking to the tournament.
Pearce has heard plenty of the complaints from the England faithful but he insists that only "one opinion counts" and that is of the England manager. With Hodgson taking a young side with him Pearce thinks that Rooney's "experience" is even more vital than ever before and one that England will be counting on.