England captain Wayne Rooney has been dropped for the Three Lions' World Cup qualifier in Slovenia on Tuesday, interim manager Gareth Southgate has said.
England captain Wayne Rooney has been dropped for the World Cup qualifier in Slovenia on Tuesday, interim manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed.
Rooney - England's record goalscorer - has only scored once in 12 appearances for club and country this season and was booed during a midfield appearance in the Three Lions' 2-0 victory over Malta at Wembley on Saturday.
Liverpool's Jordan Henderson will be skipper in the absence of Rooney, who will make way for Eric Dier to start.
"I understand and respect the manager's decision," Rooney - who claimed he had not heard the supporters' jeers against Malta - said at the pre-match media conference.
"You want to play but I will support the players 100 per cent and be ready to come on if needed.
"I show great pride playing for my country, whether that's from the bench or from the start. Of course, you want to be on the pitch but my role as captain won't change off the pitch.
"If selected I am available to play. I love playing for my country. I've made it clear what my plans were and they won't change.
"It's football. There are 23 players to select from. I've played 13 years non-stop for England, given everything and the time comes when you are not the first name on the team-sheet. It is a chance for other players.
"All I can do is keep working hard and be ready for when I am needed. People are entitled to their opinions but I have said many times the ones I listen to are coaches, team-mates and those close to me."
Southgate explained the decision was tactical and insisted dropping Rooney was not a reflection on his performances.
He said: "It was not an easy decision to make because of the respect I have for him as the captain of this team, but we felt it was the right one.
"I felt it was important to give Wayne Rooney time to think about how he wanted to deal with it and we spoke yesterday at length.
"It is in no reflection to Rooney's performance at the weekend, in fact we were happy with the way he played.
"Not only did he accept the news with professionalism but he immediately said he wanted to talk to you [the media] today. I didn't necessarily think that was the right decision, but he is still captain of this team while I'm in charge. This week has only reinforced him as the leader of this group.
"You can see how well he has spoken and what it means for him to captain his country. People forget those who haven't turned out for their country and focus on those who have and I don't understand that.
"On a human level it's a very difficult decision because I don't like some people getting an element of satisfaction that he's not in the team. I am probably more annoyed on that than he is because he has had to deal with that throughout his career."
Southgate felt Tottenham holding midfielder Dier was better suited to take on the away clash against Slovenia.
He said: "I think [with Dier and Rooney] it's clear that you are talking about two different profiles of player. Different attributes. That's the basis of the decision.
"It is a football decision. We have looked at the way Slovenia play, which we did last week, and we profiled the kind of midfield we wanted to play. As a coach you have to look at the right set-up for that game."