Hodgson sees Wayne as leader
SITTING IT OUT … Wayne Rooney takes a breather during England’s training session at Wembley
ROY HODGSON is looking at Wayne Rooney as a possible future England captain.
Three Lions chief Hodgson has not yet named a vice-captain behind Steven Gerrard for Euro 2012.
And striker Rooney could get the deputy’s job — despite the fact he will miss the games against France and Sweden through suspension.
Should the Manchester United star prove he is up to it, he will become favourite to take over from his pal Gerro once the 32-year-old Liverpool midfielder calls time on his international career.
Hodgson’s predecessor Fabio Capello tipped Rooney to be an England captain.
And the new boss said: “Vice-captain is something we’re considering and Wayne would come into the reckoning.
“We’re having to take it on a game-by-game basis but Wayne would be considered.”
Rooney is unlikely to start against Belgium today in England’s final warm-up match at Wembley, because Hodgson is still trying to work out his team for the opening Group D clash with France a week on Monday.
The front two places in the starting XI are up for grabs, along with the two wide positions — and Arsenal ace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready to stake his claim as he makes his first start for his country this evening.
Hodgson will test out the Ox on the left side of midfield, with James Milner on the right. If the 18-year-old makes a success of it, a spot against France is likely to be his.
The Ox, the wild-card selection in Hodgson’s 23-man squad, has made a huge impression in the England camp since joining up and got his first action as a sub against Norway last week.
Senior players have been stunned by the way he has fitted in so well and so quickly without being at all daunted by playing for his country.
Danny Welbeck will start up front, alongside Ashley Young, as he challenges Andy Carroll for the lead striker’s berth. the Manchester United frontman has been injured but has convinced Hodgson in training he is fit enough to play.
Hodgson added: “Wayne, the one obvious pick as a front player, is not available. But I was satisfied with what I saw in Norway last week.
“If anyone else gets a chance, they can make an impression with me.
“when it comes to the front four positions, I have a lot of options.
“I’ve not had a chance to see Danny Welbeck yet, as he has not been fit.
“I’m not concerned that I need to play the team against Belgium that will play against France.
“But when I make the decision for the France match, I want to have covered all the bases and know why I’ve chosen the players and what I’m looking for.
“To say it’s an audition is too strong a word to use with so many senior players. It’s preparatory.”
Much has been made of the new relaxed atmosphere that has been ushered in by Hodgson and how the players are enjoying themselves.
But the manager insisted: “the problem with top-class sport is the only real enjoyment you can get is through winning.”
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