Burton-on-Trent - Wayne Rooney will remain England captain
going into the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, manager Sam Allardyce
confirmed on Monday.
The 30-year-old striker, who also captains Manchester
United, has been England's skipper for the past two years.
He will don the armband under Allardyce for the first time
on Sunday when England launch their attempt to reach the next World Cup in
Russia with a game against Slovakia in Trnava.
"Wayne has been an excellent captain for England and
the manner in which he has fulfilled the role made it an easy decision for me
to ask him to continue," Allardyce said.
"Wayne's record speaks for itself. He is the most
senior member of the squad and he is hugely respected by his peers. All of
these factors point towards him being the right choice to lead the team."
Rooney was appointed captain by Allardyce's predecessor, Roy
Hodgson, in August 2014 after previous skipper Steven Gerrard retired from
international football following the World Cup in Brazil.
A year later he broke Bobby Charlton's 45-year-old England
scoring record by netting his 50th international goal in a Euro 2016 qualifying
win over Switzerland at Wembley.
Rooney's current tally stands at 53 goals and against
Slovakia he will become England's most capped outfield player on 116 caps,
surpassing David Beckham.
Former goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who made 125 international
appearances, is England's most capped player overall.
On the qualities he looks for in a captain, Allardyce said:
"I like an on and off-the-field captain, if there is one.
"But if there isn't one, then an on-the-field captain
is the main basis of being the captain. You would hope the captain would make a
decision on the pitch if he felt he needed to.
"For me, that's the captain's role. It's a big
responsibility at club level, even more so at international level. First and
foremost, lead by example."
Allardyce named Nigerian trickster Jay Jay Okocha, his
former lieutenant at Bolton Wanderers, as the best captain he has worked with.
"He sorted the odd scuffle out in the dressing room and
talked to the players about how we had to go out and win," Allardyce told
reporters at the St George's Park football centre in Burton, central England.
"He'd take the manager's instructions and apply them in
the right way.
"Then there was outstanding ability on the field,
leading by example and showing everybody he wasn't a mercenary, which was
suggested in the beginning, that he'd only come for the money.
"He became an iconic figure at Bolton Wanderers."
Rooney played in central midfield for England at Euro 2016,
but Allardyce intends to use him in the number 10 role, where he has been
playing under new United manager Jose Mourinho.
"It may be that Wayne is listed as a midfielder (in the
England squad list), but he's playing in behind the front man at Manchester
United and that, for me, puts it that that's his position," Allardyce
England reached the last 16 at Euro 2016 before being
humiliatingly eliminated by minnows Iceland.
Allardyce explained that he had overlooked Everton's Ross
Barkley because he considers Rooney and Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli as his
top two picks for the number 10 position.
"Ross is a difficult one because he has been playing
quite well since the start of the season and the change of position for Wayne
made it a little difficult to pick Ross," said the former Sunderland
"Dele Alli's in a very similar position, so you have to
make a difficult choice."