Henderson to captain England as Rooney sits out Spain clash

Date published: Monday 14th November 2016 1:55

Gareth Southgate: Talks to his skipper at training on Monday

Gareth Southgate: Talks to his skipper at training on Monday

Gareth Southgate admits Wayne Rooney is an injury doubt for England’s friendly against Spain and has confirmed Jordan Henderson will captain the side.

Rooney and Ryan Bertrand both missed training on Monday morning with “minor issues” and Southgate said both will be assessed to see if they will be available for selection.

Southgate conceded the injuries make both players a doubt, but said he would not have named Manchester United forward Rooney in his starting line-up regardless.

He told a press conference: “Both are being assessed, they had minor issues this morning, so we’ll have a look at them as the day goes on.

“They weren’t ready to train today so they must be a doubt, but we’ll have to look later.

“I wouldn’t start Wayne in this game anyway, so we’ll decide which route to go.”

Southgate did not reveal who will take Rooney’s spot in England’s XI, but confirmed Henderson – who has stood in as skipper before – would wear the captain’s armband.

England training

In naming the Liverpool midfielder as captain for the match, Southgate also voiced his belief that it was important England have more players who can step up to lead the side.

He said: “Jordan Henderson will be captain. But I believe we’ve got several leaders, one sitting next to me (Joe Hart) who has shown a great maturity since I’ve been in the roles, and I don’t think we can have just one captain.

“At times too much of that responsibility has laid with Wayne and we need to share that. There are leaders already and other potential leaders who I think can step forward.

“And once you have a team full of those players then we’ll have a lot of success.”

Aside from Rooney and Southampton left-back Bertrand, Southgate will also be without Tottenham striker Harry Kane due to an ankle problem, but otherwise reported no further fitness concerns.

The clash against Spain at Wembley will be Southgate’s fourth and final match of his temporary reign, with his previous three matches bringing wins over Scotland and Malta as well as a draw with Slovenia.

Southgate was again asked about his future beyond Tuesday’s friendly, but the former Middlesbrough boss was giving little away.

He said: “I think it’s right for everybody to reflect. If you are appointing a manager at any football club, in my opinion you should take your time, you should see what fits with the philosophy of what you want to do, you should speak to all of the people you want to speak to.”

Pushed on whether he wants the job permanently, Southgate said: “I don’t think now is the time for those discussions.

“I’ve said everything is about the team. I’m not a coach for whom what happens to me is the most important thing.

“First and foremost in these four matches I was asked to pick up, the team are in a healthy qualifying position and that’s been done.

“Now we’d like to build on that in the game tomorrow and to show some style, some understanding of what we need to do without the ball.

“Our pressing has to be spot on, because if you don’t get that right against Spain then they can carve you apart. So our work with and without the ball has to be immaculate and so that’s a great challenge for us as a group of coaches and all of the players.

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