Wayne Rooney: Gareth Southgate vows to stick by England captain despite being dropped for Manchester United
Gareth Southgate has hinted he will continue to pick Wayne Rooney for England even if the striker remains on the Manchester United bench.
The interim manager has issued his captain another show of faith ahead of his next squad announcement in November.
Rooney missed United’s 4-0 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday through injury and has not started any of their last four Premier League matches having scored just once for club and country this season. It is unknown if he will return to face Manchester City in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old was also left on the bench by Southgate for the World Cup qualifying draw in Slovenia this month.
Southgate’s initial four-game spell in charge ends with a World Cup qualifier against Scotland and friendly with Spain in November and dropping England’s record 53-goal top scorer for those games does not even feature in his thinking.
“He’s the England captain and although he didn’t start in Slovenia, to me he is a hugely influential person in that group and that won’t change,” he told Press Association Sport.
“Let’s see what that scenario is but I thought his leadership qualities in the 10 days with us shone through. I hadn’t been able to see that first hand and it was hugely impressive.
“I could see how he’s held in the eyes of the rest of the players and the positive influence he has in that environment. If that wasn’t the case I wouldn’t say those things. That’s as it was.
“I haven’t spoken to him since the camp but I’m always conscious players are back into a run of fixtures with their clubs, but I will pick up with him and the others later.”