Sunday 19 November 2017

'In no way is it a reflection on his performance on Saturday' - Gareth Southgate confirms Wayne Rooney will be benched

England's Wayne Rooney
England's Wayne Rooney

England captain Wayne Rooney will be left out of the line-up for Tuesday'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 Tuesday'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 on Tuesday.

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," said Southgate, who is preparing for the second of his initial four-game stint as England boss.

"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."

On Southgate's decision to drop him against Slovenia, he added: "Of course you want to play.

"I understand and I respect the manager's decision and I'll support the players 100 per cent, and try to help the players get three points tomorrow.

"I'll be ready to come off the bench if needed.

"I show great pride in playing for my country, whether that's from the start or from the bench.

"Of course you want to be on the pitch, but my role as captain won't change off the pitch."

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