Ahead of England’s World Cup qualifying game against Slovenia, interim manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will not start.
At the press conference ahead of this match, Southgate has claimed that Rooney’s performance against Malta, which was widely criticised by fans and the press, didn’t influence the decision to drop him.
We looked at Slovenia and I knew last week what was needed. In no way is it a reflection on Wayne’s display against Malta. I felt it was important to give him time to think through how he wanted to deal with it. We spoke yesterday at length. Not only did he accept the decision with great professionalism, he wanted to speak here today. I wasn’t immediately so sure.
Rooney was also present at the press conference and said his plans for his international future hadn’t changed. He also insisted he felt no embarrassment at being left out of the team.
I understand and respect the manager’s decision. I will support the players 100%. I will be ready, of course, from the bench. Of course you want to be on the pitch – that goes without saying. My role as captain doesn’t change off the pitch.
He’s got 23 players. A time comes when you’re not the first name on the team sheet. I’m not denying it’s a difficult period, but that’s part of football. I have to work hard and make sure I’m ready.