Reuters

Gareth Southgate: England need more leaders but Rooney remains captain

Southgate: England need more leaders but Rooney remains captain

01/12/2016 at 22:49

Gareth Southgate has confirmed Wayne Rooney will remain England captain at his first press conference since being named as the new permanent England football manager.

Asked about the Manchester United striker's future, Southgate said: "Wayne Rooney is the England captain, I said that at the beginning," but added "I’ve only selected him to start in two of the four matches."

Southgate was keen to stress that despite Rooney's continued captaincy, it was important to develop new leaders within the England camp.

In a picture taken on November 11, 2016 England's striker Wayne Rooney wears a poppy armband to commemorate Armistice Day

In a picture taken on November 11, 2016 England's striker Wayne Rooney wears a poppy armband to commemorate Armistice DayAFP

He said: "Important to me that we develop more leaders in that group... Leadership is fundamental here."

Southgate spoke of his own time as an England player and said he was keen that such as in 1996 there should be "captains throughout the team."

He added: "Developing leadership and developing resilience is one of the key areas – Wayne has played an important part up to this point, I’m sure he will in the future, but it’s important to develop others."

Asked about Rooney's infamous night out while on England duty earlier this month, Southgate said his opinion of Rooney had not changed since then, but added that players could not be complacent about their spots in the England squad. He added that there was "huge competition for places."

Video - Southgate: ‘Fantastic honour’ to help young England team develop

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'I don't think laying down the law is necessary'

Though Southgate said he was happy for Rooney to stay on as captain, his four matches in charge offered him an "opportunity to reflect" on different aspects of the team.

He said: "I will review the four matches I have taken charge of. We want to develop an elite, world-class team."

Southgate added that he was not disappointed by Rooney or his team’s antics on the night in question and said: “I made plenty of poor decisions as a young player… It’s how you react to that and learn from it.”

"Being an England player comes with additional responsibility but I don’t think laying down the law is necessary with this group of players," he said.

The former Aston Villa captain said he was keen to “create a culture where playing for England is something players look forward to.

“I want them to have the chance to be as good as they might be,” he added.

Southgate spoke of the “fantastic honour” of being appointed England manager but said: “The hard work starts now - I want to do the job and be successful at being in the job”

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Speaking of his vision for the new England team, Southgate said he wanted an “England team that excites the public, that they look forward to watching.”

Southgate said: “We need a clear style of play, a clear understanding of how we want to play, we want to have a lot of possession of the ball but that can’t be without a goal threat. We have players who can play a high-pressing game that will excite supporters.

Gareth Southgate said the door at St George's park was "always open" to former England players such as Steven Gerrard (L, with David Beckham)

Gareth Southgate said the door at St George's park was "always open" to former England players such as Steven Gerrard (L, with David Beckham) Reuters

He added, however, that there was a need “to be more savvy” and added there was “always an opportunity to improve.”

In terms of backroom staff, Southgate said he had nothing to announce as yet, but said he hoped to make announcements soon. He added that it was “no secret” how important assistant coach Steve Holland had been to him in his previous role as under-21 manager.

Asked if he saw a role for former-England player Steven Gerrard, who announced his retirement as a player last week, Southgate said: “The doors at St George’s park are always open [to former international players].”

England's Technical Director, Dan Ashworth, added that there was no announcement yet on who would replace Southgate as the U21 head coach.

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