New England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will remain as England captain.
Southgate, who took over the national side on a temporary basis after Sam Allardyce was sacked in September, was handed the full-time job on Wednesday.
Rooney was consigned to the bench for England’s draw with Slovenia in October, before reassuming his role as skipper against Scotland last month. Doubts were raised over his future as England captain, however, after his drunken antics were recently made public.
But Southgate, speaking at a press conference earlier today, has confirmed that Rooney will remain England captain.
— England (@England) December 1, 2016
It feels as if the national side is going through a stage of existential confusion. The scars from Euro 2016 are yet to fully heal, and their chosen successor – Sam Allardyce – has been cast out in semi-hilarious, semi-embarrassing circumstances. And now, almost out of nowhere, we have Southgate, charged with forging a new team, a new attitude.
And with this England side still very much in limbo, it makes sense for Southgate to adopt a cautious approach, to stick with what he – and indeed this confidence-stripped England side – knows. At least for now. Rooney is far from the ideal captain but he is an established, internationally recognised figure, respected by the dressing room – a dressing room that fundamentally lacks any viable alternatives to the 31-year-old.