England goalkeeper Joe Hart lauded Wayne Rooney as the team’s “leader” despite the captain being dropped against Slovenia.
Rooney, 30, was introduced from the bench late on as interim manager Gareth Southgate’s men were held to a 0-0 draw in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
While Jordan Henderson skippered in Rooney’s absence, Hart talked up the Manchester United man’s leadership.
“Everyone knows Wayne is our leader. Every day no matter what he is doing, he leads us,” he told Sky Sports.
“Jordan did really well tonight, taking over the role as captain in a pretty blown up circumstance with Wayne not playing.
“Wayne helped him, we helped Jordan, and we move forward as a team. We were always going to do that.
“There are plenty of people in the squad who deserve to play and it’s down to the manager who he picks and we support him.”
Despite the draw, England are top of Group F with seven points from three matches.
Hart, who starred in the encounter, was satisfied with the point, but lamented his side’s display in Ljubljana.
He said: “We would have loved to come here and get three points. it wasn’t meant to be.
“Slovenia executed a good game plan, they sat off us and looked to counter. They played well, we didn’t.”