5 September 2014 19:24
England midfielder Jack Wilshere is certain that Wayne Rooney is the ideal choice to captain the national team.
Rooney was handed the task after Steven Gerrard retired from international football following the team’s dismal World Cup campaign, in which England exited at the group stage without a win.
Frank Lampard, Gerrard’s deputy, also called time on his England career and manager Roy Hodgson subsequently named Rooney to wear the armband.
Despite also being given the Manchester United captaincy role by Louis van Gaal during the close-season, critics have questioned the appointment of Rooney – who scored a penalty in England’s 1-0 win over Norway on Wednesday – but Wilshere is under no illusion that the former Everton prodigy is a perfect fit.
“He is great,” the Arsenal man said. “Even before he was made captain I looked up to him.
“He is a leader, a personality and is not scared to tell you when you are doing something wrong.
“I look forward to playing for him. He is the perfect choice for us. He was thrown into the scene at Everton, like me when I was young, and he has had a fantastic career and scored so many goals.
“He is the stand-out choice for me. He was always vocal but now he is putting his arm around us youngsters and having a word with us.”
Following the retirements of Gerrard and Lampard, the England midfield has an unfamiliar look to it as Fabian Delph and Jack Colback both received their first call-ups for the Norway friendly and Monday’s Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland.
Wilshere, though, believes that with the likes of Jordan Henderson partnering him in the middle, England have a solid spine with plenty of competition.
He added: “I played with Jordan for a few years, under-21 level, and I always worked well with him. He is so fit and really gets up the pitch well. He has high quality.
“It was disappointing that Gerrard and Lampard retired but that is the level we want to get to. There is also Fabian and Colback – there is a good battle going on.
“It is a big season for me and I have had a good pre-season for the first time in a few years.
“I played every game apart from Leicester and I am feeling strong and stronger every game. I feel as though I’m where I want to be.”