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Hart backing Rooney to skipper England

WAYNE Rooney might have labelled Joe Hart as the best goalkeeper in the world last week -- but if Roy Hodgson needs another captain tomorrow night, the Manchester City man knows who he thinks will get the call.

With Steven Gerrard suspended and vice-captain Frank Lampard troubled by a knee injury, Hodgson might be picking a team for the World Cup qualifier with San Marino without his captain and deputy.

Of the alternatives, Rooney and Hart are the most plausible candidates given Ashley Cole will not be considered.

Hart had plenty of backers when the job was up for grabs after John Terry was stripped of it for a second time last season -- but he sees Rooney as a more obvious candidate.

"I've no idea who is going to be captain but I am pretty sure it will fall to Rooney," said Hart. "He is our star man with 10 million caps at the age of whatever he is, 26? I imagine he is a bit further up the queue than me."

Fabio Capello did give Rooney the job once, for the friendly defeat to Brazil in Qatar three years ago. The Italian was never convinced by Rooney's leadership qualities though.

And as Dino Zoff and Iker Casillas have both captained World Cup-winning teams from their goalkeeping positions, there is no reason why Hart could not be considered.

"Of course I would, anyone would," said Hart, when asked if he would like to do the job. "But I didn't go into goal thinking I wanted to be captain. It is a great thing to play for your country. I'm not really bothered who is in charge of it."

Rated as the joint worst team in the world, it is hard to imagine San Marino posing a threat to England.

Although Hodgson has vowed not to take any risks with the players he needs for next Tuesday's crucial trip to Poland, there has been no suggestion Hart might be one of the players rested. Indeed, he might want as much time as possible playing behind a defence that will miss John Terry.


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