Saturday 22 October 2016

Southgate: Rooney has England future despite sub role

Slovenia v England (Live, Tonight, ITV, ko 7.45)

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney

England captain Wayne Rooney will be left out of the line-up for tonight's World Cup qualifier against Slovenia, Gareth Southgate has confirmed.

Rooney, who was deployed in midfield on Saturday against Malta, was booed by sections of the Wembley crowd during England's 2-0 win.

And caretaker manager Southgate revealed at the pre-match press conference in Ljubljana that the national team's all-time top scorer would be among the substitutes for tonight's Group F qualifier.

Southgate, who confirmed Rooney would remain his captain going forward, said: "It's very straightforward. We've looked at Slovenia and the way they play and from when I looked at it I've had in my mind the profile of the midfield that we wanted to play.

"In no way is it a reflection on his performance on Saturday. In fact we were very pleased with what he did."

Jordan Henderson will captain England in Rooney's absence tonight.

However, Southgate said Rooney will continue to lead the side for the foreseeable future. "He's still captain of this team while I'm in charge," he said. "Everything I have seen this week has only improved the feeling of how impressive he has been as a leader of this group."

Rooney says he was unaware of the jeers from his country's own fans against Malta but vowed to continue to give his all for England.

He said: "To be honest I wasn't aware of it. I think football nowadays, that's part of the game, but I wasn't aware of it on the pitch. I've nothing really to say on it."

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