Rooney keeps the arm­band

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

WAYNE Rooney will re­main Eng­land cap­tain go­ing into the 2018 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign, man­ager Sam Al­lardyce con­firmed this week.

The 30-year-old striker, who also cap­tains Manch­ester United, has been Eng­land’s skip­per for the past two years.

He will don the arm­band un­der Al­lardyce for the first time on Septem­ber 4 when Eng­land launch their at­tempt to reach the next World Cup in Rus­sia with a game against Slo­vakia in Tr­nava.

“Wayne has been an ex­cel­lent cap­tain for Eng­land and the man­ner in which he has ful­filled the role made it an easy de­ci­sion for me to ask him to con­tinue,” Al­lardyce said.

“Wayne’s record speaks for it­self. He is the most senior mem­ber of the squad and he is hugely re­spected by his peers. All of these fac­tors point to­wards him be­ing the right choice to lead the team.”

Rooney was ap­pointed cap­tain by Al­lardyce’s pre­de­ces­sor, Roy Hodg­son, in Au­gust 2014 af­ter pre­vi­ous skip­per Steven Ger­rard re­tired from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball fol­low­ing the World Cup in Brazil.

A year later he broke Bobby Charl­ton’s 45-year-old Eng­land scor­ing record by net­ting his 50th in­ter­na­tional goal in a Euro 2016 qual­i­fy­ing win over Switzer­land at Wem­b­ley.

Rooney’s cur­rent tally stands at 53 goals and against Slo­vakia he will be­come Eng­land’s most capped out­field player on 116 caps, sur­pass­ing David Beck­ham.

Former goal­keeper Peter Shilton, who made 125 in­ter­na­tional ap­pear­ances, is Eng­land’s most capped player over­all.

On the qual­i­ties he looks for in a cap­tain, Al­lardyce said, “I like an on- and off-the-field cap­tain, if there is one.

“But if there isn’t one, then an on­the-field cap­tain is the main ba­sis of be­ing the cap­tain. You would hope the cap­tain would make a de­ci­sion on the pitch if he felt he needed to.

“For me, that’s the cap­tain’s role. It’s a big re­spon­si­bil­ity at club level, even more so at in­ter­na­tional level. First and fore­most, lead by ex­am­ple.”

Al­lardyce named Nige­rian trick­ster Jay Jay Okocha, his former lieu­tenant at Bolton Wan­der­ers, as the best cap­tain he has worked with.

“He sorted the odd scuf­fle out in the dress­ing room and talked to the play­ers about how we had to go out and win,” Al­lardyce told re­porters at the St Ge­orge’s Park foot­ball cen­tre in Bur­ton, cen­tral Eng­land.

“He’d take the man­ager’s in­struc­tions and ap­ply them in the right way.

“Then there was out­stand­ing abil­ity on the field, lead­ing by ex­am­ple and show­ing ev­ery­body he wasn’t a mer­ce­nary, which was sug­gested in the be­gin­ning, that he’d only come for the money.

“He be­came an iconic fig­ure at Bolton Wan­der­ers.”

Rooney played in cen­tral mid­field for Eng­land at Euro 2016, but Al­lardyce in­tends to use him in the num­ber 10 role, where he has been play­ing un­der new United man­ager Jose Mour­inho.

“It may be that Wayne is listed as a mid­fielder [in the Eng­land squad list], but he’s play­ing in be­hind the front man at Manch­ester United and that, for me, [means] that’s his po­si­tion,” Al­lardyce said.

Eng­land reached the last 16 at Euro 2016 be­fore be­ing hu­mil­i­at­ingly elim­i­nated by min­nows Ice­land.

Al­lardyce ex­plained that he had over­looked Ever­ton’s Ross Barkley be­cause he con­sid­ers Rooney and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s Dele Alli as his top two picks for the num­ber 10 po­si­tion.

“Ross is a dif­fi­cult one be­cause he has been play­ing quite well since the start of the sea­son and the change of po­si­tion for Wayne made it a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to pick Ross,” said the former Sun­der­land man­ager.

“Dele Alli’s in a very sim­i­lar po­si­tion, so you have to make a dif­fi­cult choice.” –

World num­ber one Djokovic, who beat Fed­erer to win a sec­ond US Open last year, also felt sym­pa­thy for the 35-year-old Swiss.

“It’s not the same when you don’t have Roger for the tour­na­ment, for the fans. He’s been one of the most pop­u­lar play­ers of all time, one of the most suc­cess­ful play­ers of all time,” said the Serb, a first-round win­ner over Jerzy Janow­icz on Au­gust 29.

“There is no doubt that ev­ery tour­na­ment is missing him.

“But on the other hand, we have got to fo­cus on the play­ers that we have at the mo­ment. So I think even with­out him, it’s a very strong field. I’m sure it’s go­ing to be a good tour­na­ment.” –

Photo: EPA

Wayne Rooney, who is the all-time leader for Eng­land in scor­ing, will re­tain his cap­taincy as Eng­land heads into World Cup qual­i­fiers.

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