England captain Wayne Rooney is set to be dropped to the bench for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.
Barring any last-minute injuries, manager Gareth Southgate will leave Rooney out of the starting XI as England look to preserve a 100% record.
Southgate will address the press in Slovenia at 18:30 BST on Monday.
Rooney is England’s most-capped outfield player, making his 117th international appearance in the 2-0 win against Malta on Saturday.
However, his performances recently have been heavily criticised and the 30-year-old was booed by sections of the Wembley crowd at the weekend, when he operated in a deep-lying midfield role. Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier played in that position during Euro 2016.
Interim national boss Southgate defended his captain after Saturday’s game, saying the criticism was “at times unfair”.
Rooney’s team-mates were left “shocked” by some fans’ treatment of the Manchester United player, who has scored one goal in 12 games for club and country this season.
Manchester City defender John Stones believes England’s record goalscorer is a victim of his own high standards, after scoring 53 goals in 117 appearances for his country.
“He wears his heart on his sleeve and gives 110% and you can see that in every performance,” said defender Stones, 22. “I am a bit shocked that the booing happened.
“He is always up there and on form. The top players are always going to get the stick that gets piled on them because of the standards he sets.”
Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson added: “He’s our captain and our leader and is a fantastic player for both Manchester United and England. He put in a fantastic performance, got on the ball well and broke it up too to win it back for us.
“There’s always going to be criticism and we just have to stay together and win games.
“I feel the criticism comes because the fans know we have good players and want us to do well.”
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has captained England before in Rooney’s absence, including the final group game of Euro 2016 against Slovakia.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart and current Manchester United captain Chris Smalling have also performed the role in the past.
Midfielder Henderson is the current Liverpool captain.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37606560