Get it right, Hodgson
England's new all-time scorer must play as a No. 10 behind Kane in France next June
(Harry Kane 67, Wayne Rooney 84-pen)
In an era when strikers stalk alone, Harry Kane found himself left out in the cold.
Even when qualification for Euro 2016 was assured, the Tottenham Hotspur striker got nothing more than a seat on England's bench, as manager Roy Hodgson freed Wayne Rooney to hunt for a record 50th international goal.
TNP ILLUSTRATION: LEE HUP KHENG
Against Switzerland at Wembley yesterday morning (Singapore time), Rooney cemented his place in the Three Lions' history books.
The achievement overshadowed just about everything else, including the fact that it was Kane who, after coming on as a 57th-minute substitute, opened the scoring in the 2-0 victory.
This was a night which summed up the task Kane is up against.
Seventeen minutes after producing that crisp finish to quell the Swiss resistance, Rooney stepped up to convert from the spot to consign the Spurs man's contribution to a footnote.
He's up against England's record goalscorer, his skipper, and an obsession that anything more than one centre forward is a step back to the dinosaur age.
But Hodgson does his thing at the cost of leaving his best centre forward on the sidelines and playing a striker whose qualities are more suited for a No. 10, like the number on the back of his jersey suggests.
Rooney's feat doesn't erase his worrisome form for Manchester United, whose manager Louis van Gaal has similarly persisted with Rooney as the main man up front.
It can't mask the fact that the 29-year-old's 49th - against San Marino - and 50th goal for his country came from the penalty spot.
Van Gaal's dilemma at Old Trafford is probably brought about by necessity rather than choice.
The Dutchman lack proven goal-scorers in his team and is stuck with Rooney as his best option.
He is also hesitant to deploy him as a support striker because there are more capable men in that role.
Not many would see Rooney as an improvement on Juan Mata or even Ander Herrera in the No. 10 position.
But it's a different story in the England camp.
By leaving Kane out of the starting line-up, Hodgson is making a mistake with the country's best and most natural centre forward.
Last season's Premiership second-highest goalscorer with 21 goals, Kane is built for the hunt.
He combines industry, flair and most crucially, an instinct in the penalty box that cannot be honed at the training ground.
In four England games, he has netted thrice - all after coming on as substitutes.
Hodgson can't pin Kane's omission in this recent round of qualifiers on his poor club form - he hasn't scored in any of Spurs' four league games this season.
Because Rooney himself last month ended a 878-minute goal drought at United with a hat-trick against Club Brugge in a Champions League qualifier.
And, like Kane, he hasn't scored in four Premiership outings so far.
By not opting to move Rooney into the slot behind a target man, Hodgson is also denying his own team an excellent player in a position where they are not particularly overflowing with talent.
Hodgson has a chance to pair Kane and Rooney in a 9-10 combination for their two remaining qualifiers next month.
It's also an opportunity he must not pass up.
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