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 and skipper 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 this season.

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

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

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“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?

England Under-21 boss Southgate was put in charge of the senior team for 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 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, he 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.

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“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.”

‘It’s not a normal game’

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England are two points clear at the top of Group F, with Scotland fourth – a point further back – going into the 113th meeting between the nations.

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The match at Wembley is a 90,000 sell-out, which is expected to include 10,000 Scotland fans.

It is the first time the two countries will meet in a competitive match since their two-legged Euro 2000 play-off in November 1999, which England won 2-1.

“It is a massive game. If you look at the history of the fixture, it’s not a normal game,” said England midfielder Jordan Henderson, who captained the team against Slovenia.

“We watched a video of a lot of the past games. There was a few I can remember, especially Paul Gascoigne’s goal at Euro 96.

“The lads know the importance of the game, not only because it’s England v Scotland but also because we want to qualify for the World Cup.”


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