England's Wayne Rooney celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and England at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Wayne Rooney named new England captain as youthful squad selected


England manager Roy Hodgson has named Wayne Rooney as his new captain, as the Manchester United skipper will lead the Three Lions into a new era.

Rooney, 28, has been handed the honor after former captain Steven Gerrard stood down from England duty after the 2014 World Cup, while other veterans such as Frank Lampard have also retired from international duty.

Joe Hart and Gary Cahill were also candidates to take the captaincy but Hodgson has picked Rooney as he made the announcement on Thursday, along with his squad for two upcoming games in September. Rooney has scored 40 goals in 94 appearances for his country and is on track to be the most capped outfield player, while also breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s scoring record of 49 goals.

Speaking of the decisions, this is what Hodgson had to say.

“I gave it a lot of thought but Wayne is an obvious choice. He deserves it – his commitment to the cause and his experience. He has captained England in the past and has that responsibility at Manchester United,” Hodgson said. “I’m pleased to say I’ve been able to offer it to him. I’ve had a long conversation with him and he’s prepared to accept the pressures that the England captaincy brings. It’s important that the player wants to take on that enormous responsibility.”

England will play Norway in a friendly at Wembley on Sept. 3 and then face a massive Euro 2014 qualifier against Switzerland on Sept. 8.

Four new faces are in Hodgson’s latest squad with Calum Chambers, Jack Colback, Danny Rose and Fabian Delph all receiving their first call ups to the national team. Everton youngster John Stone is included, as is Andros Townsend who missed the World Cup through injury.

The full squad for the Three Lions is below, as Hodgson continues to give youth a chance. The likes of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Theo Walcott, Ross Barkley and Kyle Walker are out injured, while Glen Johnson and Chris Smalling have been left out.

England squad in full

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Joe Hart (Manchester City)

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Everton)

Midfielders: Jack Colback (Newcastle United), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United)

Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

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Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is embroiled in a bizarre investigation into the extortion of a sex tape.

The 34-year-old French striker has been arrested by French police who have confirmed that are investigating attempts to bribe another international footballer.

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Unconfirmed reports from France claim that the individual in question is France and Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, a former teammate of Cisse at both Marseille and with the French national team.

According to Reuters news agency, Cisse was questioned because he was familiar with the people involved and in total four individuals were arrested as it is alleged they plotted to ask for money from Valbuena for the sex tape to not be released. It is unclear if the tape is of Valbeuna and his partner Fanny Lafon, or if other individuals are involved.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT future ]

Cisse won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and scored 24 goals in 79 games during his three-year stay at Anfield until 2007. He also had spells with Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, while he is currently out of contract after being released by Ligue 1 side Bastia following nine goals in 41 appearances. Cisse is due to appear on the French version of “Dancing with the Stars” in the coming months.

Further reports from France say that Cisse is expected to be “exonerated” and that the existence of the video is “not proven” at this point.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?