Despite the most dire stretch of his decorated career for both club and country, Wayne Rooney is reportedly slated to keep the captain’s armband when Gareth Southgate takes charge of England on a temporary basis.
On the heels of Sam Allardyce’s sacking in light of a corruption scandal, Under-21 boss Southgate has been appointed England’s caretaker manager for its next four fixtures. Southgate is slated to name his squad for next Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Malta, and according to reports, Rooney will be included as captain.
Rooney’s place in the England squad has never been as disputed as it is now. A dismal showing at Euro 2016 paired with an underwhelming start to the Premier League campaign with Manchester United has seen a significant drop in form for the 30-year-old Scouser.
Reports of Rooney keeping his captaincy come at a time when his place in United’s squad has come under question.
After being held out of the starting XI for a second consecutive fixture in Europa League action Thursday against Zorya Luhansk, Mourinho admitted a desire to “protect” England’s all-time leading scorer.
Even with the temporary demotion for Rooney, United centre-half Chris Smalling contends that it hasn’t deterred the 116-time capped international from assuming a leadership role.
“He was the same, as in before the game when we’re all getting ready,” Smalling offered concerning Rooney’s preparations for last weekend’s drubbing of Leicester City. “He is often one of the most vocal and he was the same.
“Regardless of whatever the situation is, whatever game, whether he is on the bench or playing or whatever, he is always that same type of character and that’s why he is England’s main man and our main man.”