The Three Lions boss believes the Manchester United star’s experience and commitment to the cause mark him out as the ideal candidate
Roy Hodgson insists Wayne Rooney was the “obvious choice” to succeed Steven Gerrard as England captain.
The retirement of Gerrard – along with fellow veteran midfielder Frank Lampard – from international football in the wake of England’s disappointing World Cup campaign in Brazil had left the Three Lions in need of a new skipper.
And Hodgson believes that the commitment and experience of Rooney, who has also been handed the Manchester United captaincy by Louis van Gaal this summer, makes him the ideal candidate for the role.
“I gave it a lot of thought but Wayne is an obvious choice,” Hodgson told reporters. “He certainly deserves it. His commitment to the cause, his experience, the fact he’s captained England in the past, and now of course he has the responsibility at Manchester United, all those factors weighed in in my thought process.
“I had a long conversation with him. And he’s prepared to accept the pressures the England captaincy can bring. And that’s quite a big thing to ensure that the person is willing to take that enourmous responsibility.”
Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart and Chelsea defender Gary Cahill were also in the running to be handed the armband, but Hodgson believes it would have been unfair of him to ignore Rooney’s claim.
“We’ve got players like Joe Hart and Gary Cahill who are experienced and play for very big clubs, in the Champions League every week and compete at the top of the league,” he added.
“It would be harsh to say Wayne was the only choice. But it would have been unfair on Rooney. It was his time, his moment. I would have made a mistake to pass over him and give it to someone else.
“There are some really big names [who have captained England before]. He’s got a lot to live up to. He knows that.
“I’ve seen a mature Rooney in my two years and, if anything, during the experiences we’ve shared he’s matured even more. It’s the right choice, he’s the right man and he’ll take it on with enthusiasm and right mentality.”