England interim boss Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will captain the side for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland and said the Manchester United forward is “in a better place” than the last international break.
Rooney, 31, has endured a difficult season but has started three of United’s last four games, scoring in the 2-1 defeat to Fenerbahce and then helping set up two goals in the 3-1 win over Swansea City at the weekend.
Rooney started in Southgate’s first game in charge last month but was booed as England laboured to a 2-0 win at home to Malta before being named among the substitutes for the 0-0 draw away to Slovenia that followed.
Asked if Rooney would be captain for Friday’s qualifier against Scotland at Wembley, Southgate told a news conference: “Yes, he is.
“He’s in a better place than he was for the last get-together in terms of his sharpness, his confidence, and he’s a really experienced player for a match like this.
“There’s no hesitation from my point of view He’s playing well. He’s played well for the last couple of games for Manchester United
“He’s confident and I think experience for a game like this is important. We have a team that has a lot of energy and potential but you need some experience around that.”
Southgate also said England have a full strength squad to pick from and that Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who returned to action in Sunday’s North London derby after having been sidelined since Sept. 18, was available if required.
He added: “These are difficult decisions for me to make because we’ve got strength in depth, we’ve got competition for places.”