Wayne Rooney new England captain: Roy Hodgson says giving armband to Joe Hart or Gary Cahill would have been a mistake

Rooney takes over the role from Steven Gerrard

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Roy Hodgson named Wayne Rooney as his new England captain today, saying that he felt it would have been unfair on the Manchester United man had he “tried to be clever” and picked another candidate.

Rooney, 29 in October, assumes the England captaincy in succession to Steven Gerrard, 47 caps more than the next most experienced player in the squad, James Milner. The only two players who might possibly have been an option for Hodgson were Joe Hart and Gary Cahill but the England manager said that selecting them would have been a “mistake”.

“They [Hart and Cahill] are experienced and they are not new to the national team. They play at very big clubs, they play in the Champions League and at the top of the Premier League every week. Had I chosen one of those two I would have been unfair on Wayne Rooney. As you rightly say, most people thought it was his time. It would have made a mistake by trying to be clever and pass over him.

“He has a lot to live up to. Previous captains of England have been top men, the likes of Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, when he did it. Some really big names and people in important midfield positions. He has a lot to live up to and I know that I have seen a mature Wayne Rooney than when I took over.

“When I started the job, I found him mature and the experiences since then have matured him even more. I think it is the right choice and he is the right man. He will have enormous enthusiasm and enormous responsibility.”

Asked whether Rooney was “undroppable”, Hodgson said that was not the case. “I don’t think he would expect us to keep him in the team if he was captain … it [dropping him] would be a tough thing to do and not something I would do lightly. But if it was necessary I would do it and he would accept it.”

Video: Roy Hodgson's press conference

Hodgson also called up Calum Chambers, Jack Colback, Fabian Delph and Danny Rose for the first time, for the friendly against Norway on Wednesday and the Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland five days later. He said that Colback’s performances this season had impressed him. “Someone who knows him up there said he was the ‘Ginger Pirlo’,” Hodgson said. “I would be delighted if that epithet turned out to be true.”