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Published: 11:03 | 10/10/16

Southgate could drop Rooney


Interim England manager Gareth Southgate is ready to make big selection decisions and has intimated that he is prepared to drop captain Wayne Rooney.

Rooney, who played in a midfield role for Saturday's 2-0 win over Malta, was subjected to jeers from a small section of England supporters at Wembley.

His place in the team had been called into question ahead of Saturday's game after being dropped by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and the debate is set to continue before England face Slovenia on Tuesday.

Southgate made some tough calls during his time in charge of Middlesbrough and he insists he is not afraid to drop players if he feels it necessary for the sake of the team.

"Making some really close friends redundant - that's probably as big (a decision) as you can get. I've got to make decisions which are right for the team and whenever you select a team, with England, you're going to leave some (players disappointed)," Southgate explained.

"You look at the bench (against Malta) and there are guys that are playing every week in the Premier League for their clubs and so you have to be prepared to do that - that's part and parcel of the job."

England defender John Stones was shocked to hear the booing at Wembley and has spoken out in defence of his captain.

"He wears his heart on his sleeve and gives 110 per cent and you can see that in every performance. I am a bit shocked that happened," said Stones.

"I thought Wayne was brilliant. He has been every time he has played for England.

"In my opinion he is always up there and on form. The top players are always going to get the stick that gets piled on them because of the standards he sets.

"He has never dropped that in training once or in the games and I think that's why he has been a top player for so long."

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