Following Steven Gerrard’s retirement from international football, Liverpool and England teammate Jordan Henderson has touted Wayne Rooney as the man to succeed him as captain.
With 21 goals in 114 appearances since his 2000 debut, Gerrard retires as the side’s third most capped player of all-time, trailing only Peter Shilton (125) and David Beckham (115), and having skippered the Three Lions on 38 occasions.
Making his final international bow in the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica at this summer’s World Cup, which concluded England’s disappointing group stage exit, Henderson was full of praise for what the 34-year-old brought to the camp and believes his influence will be very tough to replace.
‘It’s obviously disappointing for England fans and players because he’s such a key player for the team, both on and off the pitch,’ he told Sky Sports News.
‘I’ve got a really good relationship with him so I’m disappointed that now, if I get selected for England, he won’t be there anymore but, at the same time, I’m lucky because he’s still with me at Liverpool.’
Henderson went on to tip Rooney as the prime candidate to inherit the armband, but also stressed that everyone in the side must step up to take on a leadership role, following the dismal campaign in Brazil.
‘Wayne is a good leader. It’s been that way ever since I’ve been in the squad. He’s been fantastic and one of the players that have really helped me,’ he said.
‘I think there are a lot of good characters in the group, especially with some of the younger lads. They’ve got a lot of personality and will have a big role to play, so I think it’s the whole team that needs to stand up and take responsibility and prove ourselves as best we can.’
The 95-times capped Rooney has skippered England on two previous occasions, in a friendly against Brazil in November 2009 and in a World Cup qualifier against San Marino in October 2012.
Having spoken of his desire to take on the role full-time in the past, the Manchester United striker is currently the favourite to succeed Gerrard, but others such Gary Cahill and Joe Hart should also be in contention.
Set to be side’s most experienced player, with Frank Lampard also likely to call time on his England career, Rooney’s experience could be what’s needed to lead the rebuilding setup, but whether Hogson will see things that way, especially after recent disappointing performances, remains to be seen.
Is Rooney the right choice for next England captain?