I've grown up since I was sent off against Montenegro, insists England striker Wayne Rooney

New captain insists he has learnt from 'stupid' Montenegro red card 12 months ago

Wayne Rooney assured the nation yesterday that he was a changed man from the reckless individual who was red-carded for lashing out against Montenegro a year ago, as he prepared to captain England tonight for the first time at Wembley.

Rooney was given the captaincy by Roy Hodgson after vice-captain Frank Lampard was forced to return to Chelsea for treatment on a knee problem ahead of a possible return for Tuesday's World Cup qualification match against Poland. Steven Gerrard misses tonight's qualifier against San Marino with suspension.

The one-year anniversary of Rooney's sending-off in Podgorica in the last Euro 2012 qualifier passed on Sunday, although its consequences were still being felt this summer when Rooney was suspended for the first two games of the tournament. He has not been sent off since then and, aside from Ashley Cole, who was never a captaincy contender and yesterday accepted a charge of misconduct for insulting the Football Association in an offensive Twitter post, he has more caps than any other available player in the current squad.

Rooney, 26, captained England once before, a defeat by Brazil in a friendly in Qatar in November 2009. He said of the Montenegro red card: "That was a stupid thing to do, and I regretted it as soon as I'd done it. I apologised and paid the price. It won't be happening again, I can assure you of that. After that, at club level, you saw a different person. I cut out a lot of the silly tackles and mistakes I made as a young player. I have no issue with that."

On the captaincy, he had said previously: "It is a great honour, I'm really proud and excited. It is a big night for us and my family. Hopefully it will be a great result for us and I'm looking forward to the game. I don't know [what kind of captain I will be]. I speak with all the players whether they are younger or older. I will try and get the best out of myself and the other players and hopefully they can get the best out of me."

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 

There was another England player apology yesterday for remarks made on Twitter, this time for Ryan Bertrand, who swore in a tweet in which he expressed his anger at fans who had accused him of pulling out of the England squad with a "sore throat". That was the original reason given for the Chelsea left-back's withdrawal, although it later emerged that he had been suffering from a viral infection.

Bertrand apologised for tweeting "Do you think a sore throat could stop me being a part of a match for my club or country? #yourf******nuts this is what every boy dreams of". He later apologised for his reaction – "was just disappointed at the thought of people thinking i only have a sore throat" – and subsequently deleted his Twitter account.

The England manager, Roy Hodgson, said Bertrand would not be disciplined under the FA's new code of conduct which was introduced for the players on Monday night. Hodgson said: "His sentiments were laudable, telling how much he wants to play for England, being a little bit irritated that someone suggests he doesn't play when he gets a sore throat.

"His choice of words was wrong. I'm pleased he has apologised for it but it reminds us how unbelievably careful players of his profile have to be."

Rooney said that the players have to ensure they did not embarrass themselves or the FA when they were using Twitter. "We're well aware with the social network sites, in particular, we have to treat it as if we're doing an interview and say on the social network sites what we'd say on TV. There are people out there who are trying to provoke us. We have to be professional and not give them anything. We need to make sure we're well behaved on and off the pitch."

Hodgson said he goes into tonight's game against the lowest ranked international team in the world – San Marino are joint 207th with the Turks and Caicos Islands and Bhutan– concerned that Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Jermain Defoe could pick up the booking that would mean they were suspended for Tuesday's game. Gerrard and Glen Johnson are already banned for tonight's game with two bookings.

Asked about the kind of side he will pick tonight, he said: "It's a decision to bear in mind, in terms of keeping players fresh and the yellow cards after the Ukraine games when they were like confetti. I'd be disappointed if a minor incident cost me a player against Poland. But there are 90,000 coming to watch the game, we want to win the game and we'd like to do that by scoring a few goals. It's something I've got to give a bit of thought to."

Hodgson would not "quantify" what he regarded as a respectable winning margin against a side who have won just one of the 114 games in their entire history and have conceded 473 goals along the way. San Marino, who trained at Wembley last night, represent a republic with a population of 30,000 and draw most of their players from the lower divisions of Italian football.

Hodgson said he would deploy Rooney as a forward rather than a midfielder, a position he has occupied for Manchester United of late. "What we'll see [tonight] is a lot of attack versus defence. If I look at the videos of previous San Marino games, it's obvious they rely on the counter-attack and get players back behind the ball as early as possible. Wayne is a forward. He's a forward who can drop deep, and you could use him as a midfield player he's that talented."

England (probable) 4-2-3-1: Hart;  Walker, Jagielka, Cahill, Baines; Carrick, Cleverley; Walcott, Rooney, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Welbeck

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor