Man Utd striker Rooney in line to captain England against Ireland

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is expected to be named as England captain when Roy Hodgson’s side meet the Republic of Ireland in an end-of-season friendly, Sky Sports has reported.

Rooney recently handed in a transfer request at his club but at international level, Hodgson has confirmed the 27-year-old is a contender to temporarily replace Steven Gerrard as skipper, with the Liverpool midfielder absent following shoulder surgery. Rooney will be given the armband ahead of the more experienced Chelsea pair of Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, who have 101 and 95 caps respectively.

Hodgson said: “[Rooney] knows he is right up there. He has captained England once for me, at home to San Marino. I know he enjoyed that experience and I am pretty sure there are times when he will captain England again.

The former Fulham, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion boss added that he had doubted whether Rooney’s mind would be fully on England at the time of the fixture – not because of his club situation, on which Hodgson declined to comment, but because of the impending birth of his second child.

However, Hodgson revealed Rooney had assured him he could keep his attention on football, and the manager has taken the ex-Everton forward at his word. He said: “I was concerned but Wayne was at great pains to assure me that he was really looking forward to playing for England and it’s something that’s at top of his agenda. That’s enough for me. I’ve no reason to doubt him.

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