Wayne Rooney: England captain says boss Gareth Southgate has chance to stake claim

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Allardyce departure a shame – Rooney

Gareth Southgate has a chance to stake his claim to become England manager on a permanent basis, says captain Wayne Rooney.

Southgate, 46, vacated his role as under-21s boss to take temporary charge of the senior team following the departure of Sam Allardyce last week.

He will lead the country for the next four matches, the first of which is against Malta at Wembley on Saturday.

“It is an opportunity to show what he can do at senior level,” said Rooney.

“He has worked with a lot of the players at under-21 level which will be good for them.

“He will bring his own way of working so it will be good to see how that is in the next week. We have to buy into his ways and take his ideas on board and put them on the pitch.”

‘A shame’ to see Allardyce go


Sam Allardyce (left) held the England manager role for just 67 days

Allardyce left his post as England manager by mutual agreement with the Football Association last week after just one match and 67 days in charge.

It followed a newspaper investigation claiming he offered advice on how to “get around” rules on player transfers.

“It’s a shame. Everyone could see how excited Sam was for the job and he came in and showed that enthusiasm to the players,” said Rooney. “It’s a shame it’s happened and I’m sure he deeply regrets it.

“It was a decision for the Football Association to take. As a group of players we need to stick together and concentrate on the football.

“For the FA I’m sure it has been a tough couple of weeks but for the players we’ve been with our clubs and we have to focus on the games.”

When Southgate was questioned about the football corruption investigation that led to Allardyce’s departure, he said he is “involved in a sport I love and an industry that, at times, I don’t like”.

Rooney told BBC Sport: “As a football player, I love football but there are some things that don’t belong in it.

“As a kid growing up, you just want to play football. You don’t realise all the things around it. In every sport there are other sides, which sometimes aren’t the best for the sport to progress.”

‘It is getting tiring, that question’


Gareth Southgate (left) and Wayne Rooney (right) briefly played together for England in the early 2000s

On Monday, Southgate confirmed that Wayne Rooney will remain as captain, describing the Manchester United forward as “the outstanding leader in the group”.

Rooney said: “With Sam there was a lot of talk over whether I would be captain. It was good Gareth put that to bed early and there was no unnecessary speculation.”

Rooney, who is England’s leading all-time goalscorer with 53 goals, has recently lost his place in the Manchester United starting XI and his place in the England side has been under scrutiny since their failure at Euro 2016, where he played in midfield.

When asked where he thought he would play for England under Southgate, Rooney said: “It is getting tiring, that question. I have answered it many times.

“It is the same answer. I will play where the manager wants me to play. I have never picked myself.”

Rooney was also criticised for his display in the 1-0 win over Slovakia in Allardyce’s one game in charge but he felt this was undeserved.

“I actually thought I’d done quite well, especially in the second half,” said Rooney. “It has all been blown up.”

Cahill looking to correct errors


Gary Cahill has won 48 caps for England

Gary Cahill is expected to start in the centre of defence against Malta.

The 30-year-old has made some high-profile mistakes for club side Chelsea in recent weeks, including against Swansea when he allowed Leroy Fer to rob him of possession and score the Swans’ equaliser.

“For me, up to Swansea my form was good, I was playing well and I was happy,” Cahill told BBC Sport. “But since then I have made a few big errors, basic errors. I made my own mistakes out of nothing.

“But as ridiculously bad as they were they are easy to correct. I know in my head I was playing well up to Swansea and have made some big mistakes and I have to deal with that.”

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