Wayne Rooney to start on bench in Slovenia today
Barring any last-minute injuries, manager Gareth Southgate will leave Rooney out of the starting XI as England look to preserve a 100% record in today’s match against Slovenia.
Manchester United man Rooney is England’s mostcapped outfield player, winning his 117th cap in the 2-0 victory against Malta on Saturday.
However, his performances recently have been heavily criticised and the 30-year-old was booed by sections of the Wembley crowd at the weekend, when he operated in a deep-lying midfield role. Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier played in that position during Euro 2016.
Interim national boss Southgate defended his captain after Saturday’s game, saying the criticism was “at times unfair”.
Rooney’s team-mates were left “shocked” by some fans’ treatment of the player, who has scored one goal in 12 games for club and country this season and has not started Manchester United’s past three matches.
Manchester City defender John Stones believes England’s record goalscorer is a victim of his own high standards, after scoring 53 goals in 117 appearances for his country.
“He wears his heart on his sleeve and gives 110% and you can see that in every performance,” said defender Stones, 22. “I am a bit shocked that the booing happened.”
Among those who have captained England in the past are Gary Cahill, Joe Hart, Chris Smalling and Jordan Henderson.
Steve Borg challenges Wayne Rooney during Saturday’s match at Wembley Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA