Jordan Henderson has backed Wayne Rooney after the striker’s snub for England’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.
Having lost his place in Manchester United’s starting XI, the 30-year-old had to settle with a place on the bench after interim manager Gareth Southgate decided to hand over the captain’s armband to Henderson.
Despite being subjected to a barrage of criticism by fans, the Liverpool midfielder believes Rooney’s exclusion is not a permanent as he has what it takes to regain his place in the squad.
“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,” he 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.
“He is our captain, he leads by example, and he’ll be ready to come on and make an impact when given the opportunity.”
Although he has suffered a run of disappointing form, which has seen him dropped to the bench for both club and country in recent weeks, team-mates have still backed him to overcome his difficult times.
Man United have looked to play more fluently without Rooney on the pitch and Southgate would have hoped his decision to exclude the English skipper would have yielded similar results against Slovenia.
He lacks speed and power as he enters the latter stages of his career and will need to modify his game if he wants a chance of keeping his spot in the side for England and United.