‘Have pa­tience’

> Rooney boo bri­gade baf­fles South­gate

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ENG­LAND’S in­terim man­ager Gareth South­gate ex­pressed be­wil­der­ment after cap­tain Wayne Rooney was booed by his own supporters dur­ing his side’s 2-0 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing vic­tory over Malta.

Rooney, his coun­try’s record goal-scorer and most-capped out­field player, played in a mid­field hold­ing role at Wem­b­ley yes­ter­day and pro­duced a low-key dis­play as Eng­land ground out a laboured win.

There was a smat­ter­ing of boos when his name was read out prior to kick­off and again after he hoisted a shot over the cross­bar late in the game.

“I don’t un­der­stand it,” said South­gate, who has re­placed Sam Al­lardyce on an in­terim ba­sis. “That seems to be the land­scape. I’ve no idea how that’s ex­pected to help.

“I pre­sented him with a cap in the week for be­ing the record (out­field) cap-holder with his coun­try. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to get an in­sight into his world over the last 10 days.

“Ev­ery de­bate seems to fo­cus on him. The onus on him is enor­mous. The crit­i­cism of him is, at times, un­fair. He ploughs on and plays with pride and cap­tains his coun­try with pride.”

South­gate pointed out that a num­ber of Eng­land stal­warts had in re­cent times taken stick from the coun­try’s frus­trated fans.

“I al­ways look back to the (John) Ter­rys, the (Frank) Lam­pards, the Ash­ley Coles. In their time with Eng­land they took an enor­mous amount of crit­i­cism,” he said.

“And yet when you look at the num­ber of caps they got, they were the guys that kept turn­ing out and re­ally putting them­selves on the line.

“Some other play­ers have not put them­selves for­ward and with­drawn from squads when the go­ing has got tough.

“Those guys des­per­ately wanted to play for Eng­land again and again and again and put their neck on the block. I think Wayne falls into that cat­e­gory.”

Jose Mour­inho, Rooney’s club man­ager at Manch­ester United, vowed on the eve of the sea­son that the for­mer Ever­ton striker would “never” play for him in mid­field.

Rooney has, how­ever, fea­tured in mid­field for United – when not on the bench – and South­gate was re­luc­tant to wade into the de­bate about his po­si­tion.

“Look, Jose will have his opin­ion on what’s right for his team,” South­gate told his post-match press con­fer­ence.

“I have to pick a team to get a re­sult to­day. I don’t see any point in get­ting drawn into that.”

South­gate be­gan his four-game ten­ure with vic­tory cour­tesy of first-half goals from Liver­pool striker Daniel Stur­ridge and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur mid­fielder Dele Alli.

Eng­land will go in search of a third Group F win in Slove­nia to­mor­row and South­gate warned it will take time for his ideas to take root.

“Given the sit­u­a­tion I picked up about 12 days ago, we’ve in­ter­nally come a hell of a long way to get ev­ery­thing to­gether,” said South­gate, who came in after Al­lardyce was brought down by a news­pa­per sting.

“I’ve seen teams hav­ing to work all pre­sea­son to get new ideas across and we’ve had four days. So I’ve also got to be very re­al­is­tic about what that might look like.”

Eng­land would have won much more com­fort­ably had it not been for Malta’s Lon­don-born goal­keeper An­drew Hogg, who pro­duced a suc­ces­sion of saves to keep the score­line re­spectable. ” – AFP

– AFPPIX

Eng­land mid­fielder Jesse Lin­gard (2nd left) has this ef­fort saved by Malta’s goal­keeper An­drew Hogg (right) dur­ing the World Cup 2018 qual­i­fi­fi­ca­tion match at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium in Lon­don yes­ter­day.

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