England vs Spain: Wayne Rooney sent back to Manchester United after knee injury - so who will take his place?

Manager Gareth Southgate has a number of options available to him as his side face off against Spain on Tuesday night

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The Independent Online

After returning to Manchester United with a reported knee injury, Wayne Rooney will now not feature for England in their friendly against Spain on Tuesday night.

But despite his injury, manager Gareth Southgate confirmed on Monday afternoon that his captain was not in line to start against Julen Lopetegui's men.

In his place, Jordan Henderson takes on the captaincy - as he did in the World Cup qualifier against Slovenia last month.

But with Rooney out of the picture, who now steps into the fray?

Adam Lallana is likely to fill the boots of the England captain having once again impressed for the national side last Friday.

Starting out-wide against Scotland, the Liverpool midfielder bagged England’s second goal with a well-guided header and enjoyed an 88 per cent pass completion rate.

But with neither Rooney nor Dele Alli in contention (the Tottenham youngster has been ruled out with injury), this could see Lallana deployed in a more central position on Tuesday night.

Alternatively, Southgate could be tempted to push Raheem Sterling further inwards, despite his growing experience on the flanks. 

The Manchester City player has been utilised in a central role in the past, notably at the 2014 World Cup, and should the England manager opt to gamble on Sterling, this could pave the way for Theo Walcott or Marcus Rashford to make their return.

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Could Lallana be in line to take over Rooney's central role? (Getty)

Similarly, Jesse Lingaard could once again start for the national team. The United youngster started against Slovenia last month and now has the chance to stake a claim in the starting XI should Southgate hand him a chance on the wing tonight.

Daniel Sturridge, who has spear-headed England’s frontline in their last three internationals, will be expected to keep his spot – especially with Harry Kane out of the picture after being sent back to Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.

Elsewhere, expect both Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier to once again provide cover in front of England’s backline.

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