Rooney to captain England v Scotland

England forward Wayne Rooney and interim manager Gareth Southgate during training

Wayne Rooney will captain England in the World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Wembley on Friday, says interim manager Gareth Southgate.

The 31-year-old forward was dropped for the previous game, a 0-0 draw in Slovenia last month.

“He’s in a better place than for the last get-together in terms of sharpness and confidence,” said Southgate.

“He’s an experienced player for a game like this and there is no hesitation to be playing him.”

Rooney, England’s record scorer with 53 goals, has won 118 caps, but was also dropped by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho this season.

However, Rooney has started United’s past two games, scoring one goal.

He scored twice in England’s 3-1 win over Scotland in November 2014 at Celtic Park, when the countries last met.

“He is playing well,” said Southgate. “He’s a player when in a rhythm of playing, it helps him.”

Does Southgate want the England job?

Southgate was placed in charge of the England team for a four games following the departure of Sam Allardyce after only one match.

Allardyce left following a newspaper investigation claiming he offered advice on how to “get around” rules on player transfers.

Under Southgate, England beat Malta 2-0 and drew with Slovenia in World Cup Group F qualifiers.

After the match against Scotland, England meet Spain in a friendly at Wembley on 15 November.

Asked if he wanted the job on a permanent basis, Southgate said: “I’m really enjoying being in the role.

“What happens to me is not important. We have to win this game for the country, and because we want to be top of the group and heading to [the 2018 World Cup] in Russia.

“What happens to me is important to my family, but other than that it isn’t the purpose of the game. I want the players to enjoy the football and play well.

“My focus is 100% on the match and it would irresponsible and unprofessional for it to be any other way.”

More to follow.

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