Gareth Southgate confirms Wayne Rooney WILL start for England against Malta

"I'm not sure if it's starting again, we need to build on the three points in the last game", he added of the 1-0 win in Slovakia in Allardyce's sole match last month.

Interim manager Gareth Southgate will oversee the next four matches - against Malta and Slovenia in the current worldwide break and Scotland and Spain next month - and Rooney is determined to prove he is anything but finished, for both club and country.

Southgate confirmed that Rooney would start as captain, but not where he would play.

Rejecting the theory he has burned out but conceding he has lost some of his pace, the 30-year-old feels his footballing intelligence will allow him to dictate games in midfield "to a very high standard" for years to come. "It was a bit of misunderstanding after the last game, when Sam came out and said I play where I want", said Rooney.

However, Ex-Middlesborough boss Southgate, who will be in charge for the next four games as the FA decide on a permanent successor for Sam Allardyce, has put his decision to start Rooney down to experience. "The only thing I would say is that one of the things we work on with the team is tactical discipline and positional discipline, so whatever position you play it is clear for the players and they understand that fully".

"We have to buy into his ways and take his ideas on board", said Rooney.

It is a hard transition exacerbated by the scrutiny of the wider footballing world, leading Rooney's place in the line-up - never mind his role - to be inspected like never before.

Southgate, though, was quick to announce there would be no change to the England captaincy in his first press conference on Monday.

But despite Allardyce's comments, Rooney says he will play wherever he is asked to perform after insisting that the former Bolton and West Ham manager's claim has created the perception that he has influence over team selection. Maybe if players need jolting you use that technique. "What's key for this team is that whatever system we play, whatever position we ask them to play, there's clear tactical responsibility". "If we do that Gareth will be happy and we'll be happy".

England defender Gary Cahill is used to managerial turmoil after a long spell at notoriously unsettled Chelsea and he believes his worldwide team-mates will adapt to the sudden change of coach.

"It's a good moment for him", Southgate said.

"What's happened has happened - we move on".

Rooney, a striker for the majority of his career, took up a midfield role during England's ill-fated Euro 2016 campaign and now faces a battle for a regular place for his club side after recently being dropped to the bench by manager Jose Mourinho.

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