Slovenia vs England: Players will still look to Wayne Rooney for leadership, says new captain Jordan Henderson

Gareth Southgate confirmed on Monday that Tottenham’s Eric Dier would start in place of Rooney, with Liverpool’s Henderson stepping in to take on the role of captain

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The Independent Football

Jordan Henderson has said that England’s players will still look to Wayne Rooney for leadership and guidance, despite being dropped for Tuesday’s game against Slovenia.

Interim manager Gareth Southgate confirmed on Monday that Tottenham’s Eric Dier would start in place of Rooney, with Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson stepping in to take on the role of captain.

Southgate faced calls to drop the Manchester United player following England’s uninspiring victory over Malta on Saturday evening, but the manager insisted that “tactical” considerations had influenced his decision.

Although Rooney will be forced to watch from the sidelines for the Slovenia game, Henderson stated that the 30-year-old is still highly valued by his fellow teammates.

"Wayne is very experienced, for me he has been one of the best players in the world for many years and he sets an example to all of us on and off the field," the Liverpool skipper said.

"He is someone we all look up to as a captain and a leader for his experience and the type of person that he is.

"He is massive for this team and just because he is not playing, it won't change anything.

"I am sure people will make a big deal of him not starting but, in football, teams change tactically for different opposition and for different reasons.

"As I said, this doesn't change anything for us as a team in terms of Wayne not starting. He is our captain, he leads by example, and he'll be ready to come on and make an impact when given the opportunity."

Rooney has publicly said he respects Southgate’s decision and accepted that “this is part of football”.

“I've played 13 years non-stop for England and given everything,” he said.

“But a time comes when you're not the first name on the team-sheet, like I have been in the past. I've done it 117 times, but of course a time comes where there might be a bit of a change, but all I can do is keep working and turning up, so that I am ready when called upon.

“There is no embarrassment. I show great pride playing for my country. [If] it is from the bench, it is from the bench - nothing has changed in terms of my future. I understand this is part of football. It is something which you have to go through and I am big enough to deal with it.”

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