30th August, 2016
Wayne Rooney will continue as England captain, with manager Sam Allardyce saying it was an “easy decision”.
Rooney is England’s record goalscorer and took on the armband from Steven Gerrard a year ago.
Allardyce said Manchester United captain Rooney was “hugely respected by his peers” and has “enjoyed the responsibility” as captain.
The England squad is preparing for Sunday’s opening 2018 World Cup qualifier in Slovakia.
Rooney, 30, led Roy Hodgson’s England side during Euro 2016, which ended with a disappointing last-16 exit to international minnows Iceland.
But Allardyce said Rooney had been “an excellent captain for England” and as the most senior squad member was the “right choice to lead the team”.
“You would hope the captain would make a decision on the pitch if he felt it needed to [be made],” said Allardyce, 61. “For me, that’s the captain’s role. It’s a big responsibility at club level and even more so at international level. First and foremost lead by example.
“It’s all about the personality. Can you handle the responsibility of being captain? I think he [Rooney] has enjoyed the responsibility. Some players don’t want that responsibility.”
Allardyce on Rooney’s position
Rooney was employed as a midfielder during Euro 2016 under Hodgson. At Old Trafford this season under Jose Mourinho, Rooney has played in a deeper position behind the striker.
“Wayne Rooney’s position has changed at Manchester United and that is where I will play him,” Allardyce said.
“Dele Alli has started well too, so that makes it a difficult choice. We’ll wait and see, but we are looking at balance of positions.
“We want to have two players in each position and not leave ourselves short. Hopefully we make that selection after this [training camp] and we know the best XI to start with.”
Sam Allardyce expects to use Wayne Rooney as an attacking midfielder in line with his evolution at Manchester United
…on first-team experience
England boss Sam Allardyce says he was “concerned” by previous squads, including players inexperienced at first-team level for their clubs.
But he urged those left out of his squad for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier in Slovakia to “keep playing very well, and we’ll keep watching”.
Everton’s Ross Barkley missed out as uncapped West Ham winger Michail Antonio got his first call.
“It’s the hardest squad I’ve ever picked because it’s England,” he said.
“I hope that more and more very difficult decisions have to be made by the form of England players in the Premier League all breaking into the first team, playing regularly,” Allardyce added.
“It benefits us if players coming here would be very disappointed at not being in the squad, like Ross Barkley, and the players that aren’t picked in the 11 are then disappointed, and say ‘come on gaffer I deserve a place’ – that’s healthy for England.”
Former West Ham boss Allardyce said he has not contacted any of the omitted players personally, but added “the door will always be open” for Barkley, who has two goals in four appearances for Everton this season.
Marcus Rashford, who broke into the Manchester United first team in February before rising from England Under-20 to senior level under Roy Hodgson and featuring at Euro 2016, was left out of Allardyce’s 23-man squad.
Allardyce said the 18-year-old’s inclusion in England’s Under-21s “will be invaluable for us later down the line”.
“In the past it’s been a case of some of the players joining up who haven’t played that much for their teams. And that’s a bit of a concern,” Allardyce added, having spent nearly six weeks picking the squad for England’s first major match since exiting Euro 2016 in the last 16.
“We’ve looked at all avenues, what sort of pre-season they’ve had, what happened last season, this season, and looked at balance of the squad.”
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere also missed out and Allardyce explained: “Jack just hasn’t had enough game time. If Jack Wilshere was playing every week for Arsenal he would be in the squad.”