LONDON — Many years ago, when Wayne Rooney was an 18-year-old making his debut at the European Championships with England, a Scandinavian journalist asked for help. He had recorded a question with Rooney but could not understand a word of his reply.
The problem was Rooney’s Scouse accent, a Liverpool dialect difficult enough for Englishmen to understand. And Rooney was, at best, a diffident speaker.
Much has changed. On Monday in Nice, France, Rooney will lead England against Iceland in the Euros. He is the team’s elder statesman, its captain, its spokesman, and he is about to join David Beckham as the country’s most-capped outfield player.
It will be the 115th game Rooney has played for England. And whereas Beckham padded his numbers with short and at times almost celebrity substitute appearances toward the end, Rooney’s role is still pivotal to the team.
One might almost…