Soccer

Rooney a future leader - coach

2012-10-14 15:22
Wayne Rooney (AP)
London - England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that he sees Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney as their future captain.

With regular skipper Steven Gerrard suspended and vice-captain Frank Lampard injured for Friday's World Cup qualifier against San Marino, England manager Hodgson gave Rooney the armband and he responded with two goals in a 5-0 victory.

Gerrard will return to lead the team in Tuesday's qualifier against Poland in Warsaw.

But Rooney's mature display in his first competitive international as England captain convinced Hodgson that he could do the job on a permanent basis in the future.

"Yes," said Hodgson, when asked if Rooney was a future England captain. "He was my vice-captain at the Euros from the moment he could start playing again.

"He does take playing for England unbelievably seriously. I know being captain is something he's very proud of and something he wants to do.

"Frank Lampard has captained the team when both Steven (Gerrard) and Wayne were absent.

"But I always had in my mind that Wayne would be the vice captain and when Frank comes back I suppose I've got a decision to make."

Although Rooney first captained England for a friendly against Brazil in Doha in 2009, then manager Fabio Capello didn't think the forward was mature enough to be considered for the permanent role.

But the 26-year-old responded to the honour on Friday with a double-strike that took him to fifth on his country's all-time scoring list, ahead of Alan Shearer, Tom Finney and Nat Lofthouse, with 31 goals.

Hodgson also believes Rooney has banished the outbursts of anger that sometimes marred his play and that makes him a more valuable asset for England after some underwhelming displays on international duty in the past.

"I don't like to talk about him before I took the job," Hodgson said. "All the time I've been with him, including in the Euros, I don't think he was as sharp and playing as well as he is now.

"But in terms of his commitment and his desire and wanting to do the job he's every bit the same man today as he was then.

"At the moment I am seeing the best of Wayne Rooney. Maybe in the earlier games he could play for me he wasn't at that level.

"Now I have to hope he stays at his best and that he stays fit and healthy and continues to do what he is doing for Manchester United at the moment, which means he'll do it for us as well."

Read more on:    wayne rooney  |  roy hodgson  |  soccer
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