Wayne Rooney will remain as England captain

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Wayne Rooney
Britain Football Soccer - England v Scotland - 2018 World Cup Qualifying European Zone - Group F - Wembley Stadium, London, England - 11/11/16 England's Wayne Rooney Action. Reuters/Carl Recine

England’s new boss Gareth Southgate confirmed on Thursday that Wayne Rooney will still be the leader of the team heading into 2017. Despite speculations that Southgate might strip Rooney of the armband, he said that Rooney will continue to lead the next batch of World Cup qualification matches ahead of Russia 2018.

"Wayne Rooney is the England captain. I said that from the beginning of the interim period. What's also clear is that I've only selected him to start in two of the four matches we've had,” Southgate told reporters at Wembley.

Rooney was dropped off during 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in Slovenia. He was recalled when England won over Scotland with a 3-0 on the scoreboard. He was also dropped by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho for the 4-1 Premier League victory against Leicester City on Saturday. But he was made a substitute player for the Europa League at Old Trafford on Thursday night.

Aside from choosing Rooney, Southgate expressed that it is important for him to develop more leaders in the group. “If we're going to be successful we need to develop leadership, develop resilience and that's one of the key areas.”

Rooney has announced that  he will retire from international football following the 2018 World Cup in Russia. As for Southgate, he will remain manager for the next four international games following Sam Allardyce’s departure earlier this week. Sputhgate was a former Middlesbrough manager. He took the role on a temporary basis only but now has been confirmed as the new fulltime manager with a four-year contract on Wednesday.

Southgate has also revealed that there is no break clause in his four-year contract. "There's no break clause. It's important that I want to be successful in this role. I'm taking over at a point where our last two tournaments have not been as successful as we'd have liked,” he added.

He is set to name his players on Sunday evening for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.

Southgate's first game as full-time manager will be on March 22, 2017, when the team plays against Germany in Dortmund. It will be followed by a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley four days later.

It has been 20 years since England reached a major semi-final. Chief executive of the Football Association Martin Glenn predicts that England will do "very well" at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

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