Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney has followed a club captaincy call-up with his accession to the England throne and the striker wants the fans to help the national side excel on all fronts.
Roy Hodgson named the 28-year-old England skipper on Thursday ahead of their friendly against Norway next Wednesday, as the team prepares for a long Euro 2016 qualifying campaign that begins in Basel against Switzerland on September 8.
England have a long, long way to go to regain a huge support base after their dismal World Cup effort in June – reflected in the fact just 17,000 tickets were sold by last Thursday for next week’s international – though both Rooney and Hodgson feel good times are approaching.
““I would hope that I have the full backing of the fans, I am their type of player. My only thought is to win and give everything I have got, and that desire will be the way I want to captain the team,” said Rooney.
“England fans have a massive role to play not just in helping me as the captain but the team as a whole.
“When our fans sing the national anthem and support us in such numbers around the world I can promise you it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.”
Rooney, who has scored 40 goals in 95 appearances for his country, was the oustanding candidate said Hodgson, who has been impressed by the player’s increasing maturity since he took over the helm in May 2012.
“Wayne is an obvious choice for his honesty, commitment to the cause, his experience, the fact he has already captained England in the past,” Hodgson said.
“Now of course he’s got that responsibility at Manchester United as well. All those factors weighed into my thought process.
“I had a long conversation with him and he’s prepared to accept the pressures the England captaincy brings.
“With his caps and goals he has scored from such a young age we have seen that he is willing to take on responsibility.
“I have to judge him on the two years we have worked together. It is wrong to look into past misdemeanours. I have no questions about him but he has to carry that baggage, I guess.”
Rooney has tangled with officials before in an England shirt, kicking out at Ricardo Carvalho at both the 2006 World Cup and viciously swiping Montenegrin Miodrag Dzudovic in a Euro 2012 qualifier, both earning him red cards and the latter keeping him out of England’s first two games in Poland and the Ukraine.
However Rooney said his love for England and passion for the game is something he cherishes and he hopes it will take him and the team places in 2015.
“I have always had a special feeling playing for England. I have always felt it is a huge honour and responsibility,” he said.
“I hope to pass that knowledge on with the help of the other senior players to any of the young or new caps that join us.”
Main image courtesy of Nike Football via YouTube, with thanks.