Interim England manager Gareth Southgate maintains Wayne Rooney’s status as national team captain is not under threat.
Rooney was been dropped from the Manchester United first-team by Jose Mourinho following poor early season form and he lost his England starting place for the second match of Southgate’s tenure – a 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in Slovenia.
Nevertheless, the former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender was impressed by the forward’s leadership qualities, which are something he is seemingly not ready to remove from a youthful squad ahead of next month’s games against Scotland and Spain at Wembley.
“He’s the England captain and although he didn’t start in Slovenia, to me he is a hugely influential person in that group and that won’t change,” Southgate said, as quoted by the Guardian.
“Let’s see what that scenario is but I thought his leadership qualities in the 10 days with us shone through. I hadn’t been able to see that first hand and it was hugely impressive.
“I could see how he’s held in the eyes of the rest of the players and the positive influence he has in that environment. If that wasn’t the case I wouldn’t say those things. That’s as it was.
“I haven’t spoken to him since the camp but I’m always conscious players are back into a run of fixtures with their clubs, but I will pick up with him and the others later.”