Wayne Rooney accepts he is in a "difficult period" in his career after he is dropped by Gareth Southgate

The interim manager confirmed that Rooney has a future with the team and will remain as captain

BY Cian Roche 10:23 Tuesday 11 October 2016, 10:23 11 Oct 2016

Image: Mike Egerton PA Wire/Press Association Images

Wayne Rooney will not start for England this evening against Slovenia as Gareth Southgate looks to maintain his winning start as interim boss.

Much has been made of Rooney's dip in form over the past two seasons and has failed to make an impact under club boss Jose Mourinho.

The England captain had been deployed in midfield last season in the Premier League, but with the introduction of Paul Pogba in the middle of the pitch and Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front, Rooney has found it difficult to hold down a starting spot at Manchester United.

This lack of game time has resulted in calls for him to be dropped and even saw him be booed during England's 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley Stadium.

Speaking ahead of tonight's World Cup qualifier, Southgate praised Rooney for his professionalism and said that he has a future with the team as captain.

"I'm conscious that when you make a decision like that with Wayne there's bigger implications," he said. "Not only did he accept the news with great professionalism, but he was also very keen to come and speak today.

"I wasn't sure if that was such a good idea because I didn't want to subject him to being in the spotlight more than he already is, but on reflection I think it's a great opportunity for him to talk about his pride of playing for his country to let you know exactly how he feels about it."

Southgate added: "He's still captain of this team while I'm in charge. Everything I've seen this week has only improved the feeling of how impressive he has been as a leader of this group."

Rooney is England's record goalscorer (53) and holds the most caps for an outfield player with 117 appearances. 

"I've played 13 years non-stop for England and given everything," he said. "A time comes when you're not the first name on the team sheet, which I have been in the past.

"My game now? Of course, I'm not denying it is in a difficult period. I've been on the bench the last few games for Manchester United but that's part of football.

"I have to work hard and when I'm needed for both club and country, I'll make sure I'm ready."


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