Sam Allardyce says it is “not for me to say” where Wayne Rooney plays after starting his England reign with a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win in Slovakia.
England struggled against their 10-man hosts before Adam Lallana securedvictory seconds from the final whistle.
Captain Rooney, winning his 116th cap, played largely in a deep midfield role.
“Wayne played wherever he wanted to,” said Allardyce. “He did play a little deeper than I thought he’d play, but I was pleased with his performance.”
Rooney is now his country’s most capped male outfield player, ahead of David Beckham, and is just nine games away from equalling goalkeeper Peter Shilton’s record of 125 caps.
But his role has been a hot topic for both club and country, with the 30-year-old forward featuring in a number of positions for Manchester United and England.
Allardyce, who took over from Roy Hodgson in July, says he “can’t stop” Rooney from dropping into midfield, adding the player has a “lot more experience at international football” than he does.
“It’s not for me to say where he’s going to play,” said the former Sunderland, West Ham, Newcastle and Bolton boss, 61. “It’s up to me to ask whether he’s doing well in that position and contributing.”
Allardyce was critical of England’s finishing in Trnava and admitted he was getting “very concerned” before Lallana’s goal gave his side victory after Martin Skrtel had been sent off for the hosts.
“Slovakia just parked the bus,” added Allardyce. “In fact, they parked a double decker, but we are going to have to be more clinical.”
England’s next Group F qualifier is at Wembley on 8 October against Malta, who were beaten 5-1 at home by Scotland on Sunday.