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
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim footballer acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster