Henderson: Wayne Rooney ideal choice for captain

JORDAN Henderson believes Wayne Rooney is the “ideal choice” to lead a new-look England side forward as captain.

England captain Wayne Rooney during a England training session. Picture: Getty
England captain Wayne Rooney during a England training session. Picture: Getty

The dust has yet to settle on the national team’s embarrassing World Cup display but attention has already turned to future challenges.

Roy Hodgson’s side are back together for the first time since departing Brazil, with a friendly against Norway this Wednesday before their European Championship qualifiers begin in 
Switzerland next Monday.

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They are fixtures England approach with a side lacking the experience of campaigns gone by, with Rooney the only member of the 22-man squad with more than 50 senior caps to his name.

The Manchester United forward has also been handed the captain’s armband following Steven Gerrard’s international retirement – and he is a natural successor in the view of Liverpool midfielder Henderson.

“I think Wayne was the ideal choice, really,” he said.

“I mean he is a natural leader in the dressing room and also on the field as well. I think it was a really good appointment and I don’t think it’ll change the way he is, to be honest.

“He will keep doing everything like he always does, gives 100 per cent whether that is in training or matches.

“Also he will help the younger lads and I am sure he will have a lot of respect in the dressing room.”

Rooney will be even more important for England in these upcoming matches, which they approach with a largely inexperienced squad.

The international retirements of Gerrard and Frank Lampard have been compounded by injuries, meaning Hodgson has selected four uncapped players.

Raheem Sterling called this the start of a “new chapter” for the Three Lions and team-mate Henderson wholeheartedly agrees with those sentiments.

“This is the first time the group has been together since the World Cup, so I think we’ve got to deal with it and put it to bed now and move on and look towards the future,” he said. “I felt as though we went there as a team and we take all the negatives as we come back as a team and also the positives.

“We felt as though were there were some positives out of the games we did play. Obviously overall it was very disappointing because we came home far too early.

“But we’ve got to look at some of the positives as well and hopefully use them to move forwards and start a new chapter, like Raheem said.”

All this talk of a new beginning, though, has not appeased fans.

With supporters still reeling from the disastrous World Cup, the friendly against Norway is expected to be watched by the lowest crowd for an international since the new Wembley Stadium opened in 2007.

“The fans are always amazing, wherever we have gone,” Henderson said.

“In Brazil they were no different and I think, as a team, we felt as though we let them down when we were there.

“All I can say is that every time we put on that England shirt, it means everything to us and we will give 100 per cent.”