The England fans that booed Wayne Rooney will finally get their wish on Tuesday, as it is being reported that he will not start he World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.
The captain was shoehorned into midfield by interim manager Gareth Southgate for the 2-0 win against Malta on Saturday, but yet another ineffectual display – made all the worse by brilliant performances from Jordan Henderson and Dele Alli next to him – led to calls for Southgate to do the necessary and take Rooney out of the starting lineup.
Rooney has found himself out of the Manchester United team in recent weeks, and while Southgate had earlier insisted that this was “irrelevant” to his selection for England, it seems that the showing at Wembley was enough to force the temporary boss into a rethink.
Jim White, of Sky Sports and Talksport, made the claim via Twitter on Monday morning.
It’s my understanding that Wayne Rooney won’t start in Slovenia – Cahill or Henderson will captain England
— Jim White (@JimWhite) October 10, 2016
Jordan Henderson will likely be given the armband, given that he has had the role at Liverpool since Steven Gerrard left Anfield in 2015.
Whit did not speculate as to who would be taking Rooney’s place in midfield, but logic would suggest that it would be between Liverpool’s Adam Lallana and Eric Dier of Tottenham to take the starting spot.
England have taken six points from their opening games in what has been a turbulent few months for the national side. They will be expected to continue their perfect start in Ljubljana but Slovenia will be buoyed by their 1-0 win against Solavkia at the weekend.
If anything, this is probably a bigger statement of intent from Southgate to get the role full time than any of his results over the next few games. Dropping the captain is a massive call – one that neither Roy Hodgson nor Sam Allardyce were brave enough to make – and if it comes off (which it should) then Southgate will hugely increase his chances of getting the job.