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Rooney to retain England captaincy

Press AssociationPress Association 29/09/2016 Simon Peach

Wayne Rooney will remain as England soccer captain under interim manager Gareth Southgate, Press Association Sport understands.

The Football Association was thrown into a tailspin this week as the Daily Telegraph's secretly-filmed footage caught recently-appointed Three Lions boss Sam Allardyce making a variety of controversial comments.

The video cost the 61-year-old his dream job after just one match and 67 days in charge, with Southgate parachuted into the hot seat for the final four matches of a turbulent 2016.

The England Under-21s manager has precious little time to prepare for upcoming World Cup qualifiers, with Malta arriving at Wembley next Saturday before the trip to Slovenia on October 11.

Southgate will name his squad for those matches on Sunday and Press Association Sport understands Rooney will remain as captain.

The 30-year-old's position in the starting line-up, never mind on the field, for both club and country remains a hot topic of debate, but the interim manager has spoken to the forward to tell him he will stay as skipper.

Southgate, who has held several roles at the FA over the years, is said to have long been impressed by Rooney's leadership and is understandably keen for continuity during these turbulent times.

It is news that comes at a time when confidence is as big a question as his form, with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho admitting ahead of the Europa League tie with Zorya Luhansk that he may have to "protect" the forward.

On Thursday, the Portuguese manager chose to name Rooney on the bench for a second successive match, but teammate Chris Smalling last weekend backed Manchester United and England's "main man" to start firing again.

"He was the same, as in before the game when we're all getting ready," he said after the captain was named on the bench against Leicester City. "He is often one of the most vocal and he was the same.

"Regardless of whatever the situation is, whatever game, whether he is on the bench or playing or whatever, he is always that same type of character and that's why he is England's main man and our main man."

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