Gerrard backs Rooney to be captain

Steven Gerrard, centre, has backed Wayne Rooney, left, to lead England into Euro 2016 qualifying

Steven Gerrard, centre, has backed Wayne Rooney, left, to lead England into Euro 2016 qualifying

First published in National Sport © by

Steven Gerrard has backed Wayne Rooney to succeed him as England captain.

Gerrard relinquished the national team armband when he announced his retirement from international duty in the weeks after England's disappointing World Cup campaign earlier this summer, and believes Rooney is a worthy successor.

England manager Roy Hodgson is set to name his new skipper on Thursday when he announces his squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland on September 8, and it is expected that Rooney, who was recently installed as Manchester United captain by Louis van Gaal, will get the nod.

And Gerrard believes there is no worthier candidate

"Wayne... is a natural leader. Aside from being a top player, one who commands respect within the group, Wayne is passionate about representing his country and won't be fazed by the responsibility," Liverpool captain Gerrard wrote in his Mail On Sunday column.

"Before a game, he is one of the most vocal players in the dressing room. He wouldn't be afraid of speaking up and talking to someone one to one, telling them what is expected.

"When he was my deputy, he gave me great support and during our 11 years with England I saw him blossom. There were times when, as a young lad, he didn't always say the right things in the dressing room but he has matured and chooses his words carefully."

Rooney appears to be the obvious choice given that Frank Lampard, who was England's vice-captain in Brazil, is no longer a guaranteed starter for the national side.

The 28-year-old captained England in a friendly against Brazil in Qatar in November 2009 and in a World Cup qualifier against San Marino in October 2012.

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