Wayne Rooney has been retained as captain of his country by caretaker boss Gareth Southgate.
Southgate has confirmed Rooney will start when the Three Lions take on Malta at Wembley on Saturday, which may scratch a few people’s heads given the Manchester United skipper’s form of late.
There has been calls for Rooney to be dropped in a similar fashion to how Jose Mourinho has done at United, but Southgate does not appear prepared to make such a move as of yet. The 30-year-old has had an indifferent start to the Premier League campaign which has lead to an ongoing debate for England and United fans.
However, Ex-Middlesborough boss Southgate, who will be in charge for the next four games as the FA decide on a permanent successor for Sam Allardyce, has put his decision to start Rooney down to experience.
“I am sure the full team will leak out but I don’t want to give the opposition advantage of knowing our team,” Southgate said at his pre-match press conference on Friday, as per the Mirror. “It is the professional thing to do.
“Wayne Rooney’s ability to control the game and his experience. We will have kore of the ball against Malta so I expect us to control the game.
“We will need to show patience and stick to our principles of playing. I want us to be brave, prepare to take chances.”
Rooney having something to prove may go in Southgate’s favour, and that is the least the caretaker boss deserves after showing faith in the struggling striker.