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Hodgson says Man Utd star can step in for Chelsea and Liverpool duo

England's Wayne Rooney celebrates with former England captain John Terry. Photo credit: PA wire England's Wayne Rooney celebrates with former England captain John Terry. Photo credit: PA wire

Friday, October 12, 2012
8:05 AM

Roy Hodgson says he had no hesitation in selecting Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney as England captain for the World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

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Rooney takes the armband in the absence of Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.

It is three years since Rooney led England in a friendly defeat by Brazil in Doha.

At the time, it seemed Fabio Capello only gave him the job because he asked.

Indeed, it never felt as though Capello fully understood the English fixation with who wore the armband, which makes it such a surprise the Italian ultimately resigned over the decision to strip John Terry of it.

Hodgson gets it though, and he seems to have laid down a marker for the post Gerrard era, which could come after the World Cup in 2014.

“It’s a fundamental part of the English culture,” said Hodgson.

“I go back to Bobby Moore or Billy Wright.

“Maybe it’s not the case in other countries. Here the captain has iconic status.”

Yet there is undoubtedly an argument to say England are demanding too much of their talisman.

Inspiration should not be required against the world’s joint worst team tomorrow, but if the Three Lions are struggling against San Marino, Rooney will be required to rally the troops and score the goals.

It is a heavy responsibility - but one Hodgson is confident the Manchester United man can carry.

“The expectations for Wayne, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are a bit higher than those playing their third, fourth or fifth game,” said Hodgson.

“It’s a cross top players have to bear.

“But I had no hesitation thinking Wayne could handle it and it didn’t occur to me to give the captaincy to anyone else. He deserves it.”

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