Page 251 


England dropping Wayne Rooney is not courageous – it is long overdue

England's Wayne Rooney during the press conference

It has all seemed so joyless at times, with so many long, difficult periods when it has seemed like a black drape could be placed over the entire team it might surprise you to learn that when Gareth Southgate took his seat in the Stadion Stozice and set out his reasons for dropping Wayne Rooney it was seven years to the day since England had lost a qualifying fixture.

Wayne Rooney says he will not quit England despite being dropped

England's Wayne Rooney during the press conference

Wayne Rooney has insisted he will not contemplate retiring from international football despite being dropped from a competitive England fixture for the first time in his career and a tacit admission from the Manchester United player that he was experiencing the most difficult period of his professional life.