Gareth Southgate confirms Wayne Rooney will start against Malta

The England captain retains his place despite recent criticism

BY Jason Brennan 19:55 Friday 7 October 2016, 19:55 7 Oct 2016

England's Wayne Rooney during the press conference at St George's Park, Burton. Picture by: Nick Potts / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Gareth Southgate has confirmed that England captain Wayne Rooney will be starting tomorrow night against Malta.

When quizzed on Rooney's place in the side during the pre-game press conference, Southgate confirmed that the Manchester United United man will once again be in the starting eleven for the Three Lions. 

"Yes he will (start). No I can't (confirm his position)".

Rooney, whose performances have been questioned for club and country over the past year, is likely to start in midfield, with the temporary England boss alluding to as much when quizzed over what he feels Rooney brings to the side.

"Well I think his ability to control games, his experience.

"I think this is a game where we will have a lot of the ball. In the past few matches Malta have had 35, 40 per cent of the ball so I expect us to control the game and we're going to have to show patience".

Southgate, who has been given a two month, four game, reign at the helm of the national side refused to divulge the rest of his starting lineup.

"I know everybody is keen to know the team early. The players are aware of the team. I'm sure the team will leak out, I know that's what happens, but I don't see the point of giving the opposition the advantage of knowing our team."

He did however confirm that Theo Walcott, who was left out of Roy Hodgson's Euro 2016 squad, will start on the right wing after once again being drafted into the side, following the Arsenal man's fine start to the season.

Off The Ball

Newsletter

The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week