Rooney to captain England
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will captain England against San Marino in Friday night's World Cup qualifier at Wembley.
The 26-year-old has inherited the armband due to regular captain Steven Gerrard's suspension following his sending-off in the last qualifier against Ukraine and because of a knee injury suffered by official vice-captain Frank Lampard.
After that it was seen as a straight fight between Rooney and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart for the honour, and the Football Association has now confirmed Rooney is the man. He has captained England just once before, in a friendly against Brazil in Doha in 2009.
Rooney said at a press conference ahead of the game: "It's a great honour, it's something I'm really proud of. It's a big challenge for myself, I'm really looking forward to it and excited, and hopefully we can cap the day off with a good victory."
England boss Roy Hodgson added: "I've enjoyed working with Wayne, we had a good Euros and I enjoyed working with him there.
"I was disappointed when he got that terrible gash and I was even worried it could rule him out of not only the September games, but also the October games. Luckily he's made a very quick recovery and now he's available for the games, and he'll certainly captain the team in the first one."
Hodgson was unwilling to offer any further insight into his team-sheet for the meeting with the joint lowest-ranked team in the world, with speculation in some quarters that key men such as Ashley Cole could be rested ahead of Tuesday's clash with Poland.
"I haven't spoken to the players about the team," he said. "I guess Wayne Rooney realises he's starting the game because he's sitting alongside me as captain of the team. But I haven't told any other players who'll be playing and who won't be. Although I've got a pretty good idea in my own mind what I'm going to do."
Cole's Chelsea team-mates Lampard and Ryan Bertrand will definitely sit out the San Marino clash due to injury and illness respectively but Hodgson hopes both players could yet be fit to face Poland.
"Frank had a scan earlier in the week and tried to train apart from the team but do a bit more on Wednesday morning, and he still felt a slight problem with his calf," he said. "When Ryan Bertrand fell ill we were hoping it would just be one of those 24-hour things but it's turned out to be a bit more of a serious illness than that. We hope to recover him on Sunday along with Frank."