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Published: 10:43 | 11/10/16

Rooney accepts axe


Wayne Rooney is 'big enough to deal' with losing his place in the England starting team.

Rooney will have to make do with a place on the bench for Tuesday's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovenia with interim manager Gareth Southgate set to take the decision to drop him after an inconsistent performance against Malta.

The England captain has struggled for form in recent months, losing his place in the Manchester United starting XI and coming in from some sharp criticism from a small section of England fans at Wembley on Saturday.

While disappointed to lose his place, Rooney accepts Southgate's decision but insists he will be ready to help out if needed.

"I think there are many people playing in the Premier League and around the country who would only dream of being part of an England squad," Rooney told reporters.

"I've done it 117 times, but of course a time comes where there might be a bit of a change, but all I can do is keep working and turning up, so that I am ready when called upon.

"I understand this is part of football. It is something which you have to go through and I am big enough to deal with it."

There had been calls for Rooney to walk away following England's disappointing performance at Euro 2016 but the record goalscorer wants to help his country do everything possible to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"After the summer it would have been easy for me to walk away and say 'that's it, I've had enough' but that's not me," Rooney added.

"As I keep saying, I feel I have a lot to offer and I've made that clear, certainly up until Russia if we get there. That's what I want to fulfil.

"Listen, I'm not suddenly going to turn round and say 'I'm not playing, I'm not going to turn up' - I know I can be a big help for the other players, whether I'm playing or not, both on and off the pitch."

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