England interim coach Gareth Southgate has claimed that Wayne Rooney’s status as England captain is secured despite his irregular appearances for Manchester United.
Rooney, 31, has not started any of United’s past four Premier League games, missing the 4-0 defeat at Chelsea through injury and was also left out of Southgate’s starting XI for the World Cup qualifying draw in Slovenia this month.
In their next qualifier, England will face Scotland in Wembley on November 11th, before playing Spain in a friendly four days later.
Southgate, whose four-match contract to replace Sam Allardyce expires after the Spain match, has hinted the record goalscorer will be a part of his squad.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
On the other hand, Rooney’s United and fellow England international teammate Marcus Rashford could participate in the European Under-21 Championship next summer. However, United’s manager Jose Mourinho said last week that it would make “no sense” if he is already established as a regular for the senior side.
“It’s always a case of what’s right for the individual player,” Southgate replied when the question was put towards him.
“That’s why you can’t make decisions on players at this stage of the season. You have an idea what you think is the ideal pathway for an international young player but you have to bear in mind the season they have and where they are in terms of being involved in the senior team.”