Wayne Rooney England place in doubt - Sir Geoff Hurst

Wayne Rooney
Rooney has scored 28 goals in 73 appearances for England

Sir Geoff Hurst says Wayne Rooney should not be guaranteed a return to England's starting team if they make it to the Euro 2012 knockout rounds.

The striker will miss the entire group stage after his red card in Montenegro.

Hurst told BBC Radio 5 live he would "without question" take Rooney to the finals but believes others can overtake him in the pecking order.

"If they did well, I think the strong argument would be not to bring Wayne back [into the starting XI]," he said.

Hurst kept his place in the England team that won the World Cup in 1966 after being given a chance following an injury to fellow striker Jimmy Greaves.

And he sees similarities in the current situation, stating that the Manchester United forward's suspension means there is an opening for one of England's other strikers to follow suit.

Speaking on the Sportsweek programme, Hurst, 69, said: "There is the opportunity, without Wayne, for the individual strikers to perform and ensure they play well in the first three games.

"If the strikers played well and scored goals, it would be a huge decision for him [Fabio Capello] to make.

"Alf Ramsey made that brave decision and many criticised him for it before the [1966 World Cup] final but it all turned out fairly well in the end."

Rooney's absence is a big blow for England but Hurst expects them to reach the last eight despite being without the 25-year-old for the group stage.

"We should have a good enough squad of 22 players which, with injuries and suspensions, can compete in the early rounds of a European Championship," he added.

"I would be very disappointed if, even without Wayne playing, we did not qualify."

The Football Association may appeal against the severity of Uefa's punishment following Rooney's red card.

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