England manager happy with Wayne Rooney but ready to drop him

Gareth Southgate hoping Rooney gets regular football with Manchester United this season

England manager happy with Wayne Rooney but ready to drop him

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October 10th, 2016

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Wayne Rooney played the full ninety minutes against Malta on Saturday and the same thing is likely to happen on Tuesday when England head to Slovenia for their next World Cup qualifier.

There has been plenty of talk around Rooney this season, with Jose Mourinho dropping the player for Manchester United and many questioning the comments from former England manager Sam Allardyce which suggested that the forward could play where he liked.

Rooney took umbrage with those particular comments although he now has Gareth Southgate in charge of the Three Lions and the latter was happy with the captain’s performance against Wembley.

“I think he commands respect,” Southgate said. “When he makes his observations and he speaks up, it’s clear that he talks with authority but also insight. His knowledge is of a very high level, not just of the game but the dynamics of the group and the things they can learn and improve upon. It’s impossible to feel that really unless you are inside it.

“We’ve got 30% of the Premier League eligible for England. Of that, some don’t want to play [for England]. Some aren’t good enough to play and we’ve got a captain who is desperate to lead on and off the field and continues to make an outstanding contribution to that group of players. That was why he was selected. What’s happening at Manchester United, for this week, is not as important.

“I’ve got to make decisions which are right for the team and, whenever you select a team for England, you’re going to leave out some players. You look at the bench [against Malta] and there are guys who are playing every week in the Premier League, so you have to be prepared to do that (make tough decisions). That’s part and parcel of the job.”

Even so, few would expect Southgate to leave out Rooney for Tuesday’s clash in Slovenia, with the manager once again expected to find a place in the team for a player having a difficult season at club level.

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