Wayne Rooney insists he will have no influence over his role in the England team.
Interim England manager Gareth Southgate confirmed Rooney would retain the captaincy of the national side in the wake of Sam Allardyce’s departure, despite him losing his starting spot at Manchester United.
Rooney’s performance during Allardyce’s sole game in charge – the last-gasp 1-0 World Cup qualifying win in Slovakia – was widely criticised, particularly after the then manager told a post-match news conference “Wayne played wherever he wanted to”.
Having dropped into a midfield role for United towards the end of last season and during Euro 2016, Rooney’s best position remains a topic of debate, with his performances as a number 10 this term leading to Jose Mourinho benching him at Old Trafford.
Asked at a news conference whether he was guaranteed to start when minnows Malta visit Wembley in Group F on Saturday, Rooney said: “I don’t know, I think that’s a question for Gareth.
“And also, another question for England about where I play – it’s getting a bit tired, the questions about whether I play striker, midfield, number 10.
“I’ve answered that question many times and it’s the same answer. I’ll play where the manager wants me to play.
“I don’t pick myself, I haven’t picked myself ever for England. I’ve played to instructions and I’m sure the instructions Gareth gives me – whether to play or not to play – are instructions which I will try and do to the best of my ability.”
Rooney is disappointed not to be first choice for Mourinho at present but is accepting of his situation at club level.
“Of course you want to play as a football player. It’s my job, I love football, I love being involved in the team,” he added.
“Obviously I’m not starting at the minute for Manchester United but I’ve got to work hard to get back in the starting XI and when I get my chances take them.
“The most important thing is that we win.”
Marcus Rashford’s impressive form for United is part of the reason for Rooney finding himself among the substitutes, with a return to the senior England squad the reward for the 18-year-old striker this week.
Rooney believes Rashford has the ability to establish himself as a fixture in the England setup.
“I think it’s important we’ve got exiting young players and good young players who get the rewards they deserve,” he added.
“I think he deserves it. He’s
been fantastic since he got into the Manchester United squad and he’s carried that on this season.
“I hope [he can become an England regular]. I think he’s a fantastic player, a young player with a great attitude. He’s got all the ability so I don’t see any reason why he can’t.”
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