New Delhi: England skipper Wayne Rooney, has a major task in hand when his side faces Switzerland in a crucial Group E qualifying match at St Jakob-Park, Basel on Monday. England need a commanding performance to prevent Switzerland make inroads and gain early momentum in the Group. After the disappointing 1-0 win against Norway in an international friendly last week, Rooney needs his team and himself to step up by a crucial margin.
After the exit of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard due to retirements, England finds itself with youngsters who need to show their mark in the big stage. Several key players are injured with the likes of Theo Walcott, Ross Barkley, Jay Rodriguez and Daniel Sturridge and the onus of performances lie with Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United skipper who was appointed England captain last week, produced a disappointing display against Norway.
Rooney has asked for his team to show character and prevent a slow start to the campaign. The 28-year old who stated on Saturday that his team has gained vital experience from the World Cup, will like to see them showing that on the pitch. Rooney will hope an in-form Rahim Sterling will provide much impetus to a toothless attack with the absence of key players. Rooney will be eager to win back fans' support and show why he is the right man for the job.
From here the real test begins for a young England side who suffered a disappointing World Cup in Brazil. Roy Hodgson will be wary of England's lack of productivity upfront and creation of chances. Their defence too have been nervy and much lies in upping the game against Switzerland. Hodgson has given chances to several young faces recently, and players such as John Stones will be eager to prove his mettle in the absence of Kyle Walker.
Switzerland -- who only lost to an Angel di Maria goal for Argentina in the dying minutes of extra-time of their last 16 World Cup clash in Brazil, are ranked ninth in the world and are the bookmakers favourites to win Monday`s encounter at home soil.
Wayne Rooney will hope to change the odds with his Three Lions team.