England vs Spain: Wayne Rooney won't start as Gareth Southgate hands Jordan Henderson captaincy again

It is the second time in four games Rooney will not start

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Wayne Rooney will not start for England when Spain arrive at Wembley on Tuesday evening, Gareth Southgate has confirmed.

It will be the second time in four games Southgate will have opted against starting his captain and England’s record goalscorer, having dropped the Rooney for the 0-0 draw against Slovenia last month.

The 31-year-old sat out training on Monday morning with a minor injury along with Ryan Bertrand, but Southgate insisted he had already made to start without the Manchester United man, regardless of his fitness.

In Rooney’s stead, Jordan Henderson will don the captain’s armband, as he did in the World Cup qualifier in Ljubljana, as Southgate continues to explore other options for his England team.

Rooney will be assessed by medical staff prior to the game to determine whether he is fit enough or not to feature during the former World and European champions.

"Both [Rooney and Bertrand] are being assessed,” said Southgate. “They had minor issues this morning, so we'll have a look at them as the day goes on.

"They weren't ready to train today so they must be a doubt, but we'll have to look later.

"I wouldn't start Wayne in this game anyway, so we'll decide which route to go.

 "Jordan Henderson will be captain. But I believe we've got several leaders, one sitting next to me (Joe Hart) who has shown a great maturity since I've been in the roles, and I don't think we can have just one captain.

"At times too much of that responsibility has laid with Wayne and we need to share that. There are leaders already and other potential leaders who I think can step forward.

"And once you have a team full of those players then we'll have a lot of success."

Southgate was unwilling to discuss his England future, with the Spain game the final of the four he was asked to take charge of following previous manager Sam Allardyce’s sacking.

Instead, the former Middlesbrough manager wanted to stress the importance of England working without the ball against a Spain side expected to dominate possession.

"I don't think now is the time for those discussions,” he added.

gareth-southgate1.jpg
Gareth Southgate wants to know if he will be installed as permanent England manager (Getty)

"I've said everything is about the team. I'm not a coach for whom what happens to me is the most important thing.

"First and foremost in these four matches I was asked to pick up, the team are in a healthy qualifying position and that's been done.

"Now we'd like to build on that in the game tomorrow and to show some style, some understanding of what we need to do without the ball.

"Our pressing has to be spot on, because if you don't get that right against Spain then they can carve you apart. So our work with and without the ball has to be immaculate and so that's a great challenge for us as a group of coaches and all of the players."

Comments