Wayne Rooney

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Harry Kane ready to take on “leader” role for England

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Harry Kane will undoubtedly be named captain of Tottenham Hotspur one day, and you’d have to be crazy (or an Arsenal-England supporter) to say he won’t eventually take the armband for England as well.

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In fact, with Hugo Lloris the current Tottenham captain and only 30 years old, there’s a better than decent chance Kane will become captain for his country before his club.

With Wayne Rooney‘s club future far from certain, the current England captain was once again omitted from Gareth Southgate‘s squad for Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Scotland. The absence of Rooney, England’s all-time leading goal scorer, leaves the squad with a rather large void of leadership. It’s a void Kane isn’t just willing, but anxious, to step up and accept himself — quotes from Goal.com:

“I see myself as one of the leaders now in the team and I’m looking forward to it. I’m only 23 but I feel that there are a lot of younger players in the team compared to me and I have a good relationship with them.

“I have a good relationship with all the players – the older, the younger – and there are quite a few Spurs boys in there as well. It helps as we play with each other, train with each other day-in, day-out, so we know each other very well on the pitch, but off the pitch also.

“If someone is feeling a bit down, or if they’re not quite right then we are there to know that and help them out.”

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Of the 24 players in the squad for Saturday’s rivalry showdown in Glasgow, only Jermain Defoe (20) and Jamie Vardy (6) have scored more goals than Kane (5); and only Gary Cahill, who’s the current captain, and Joe Hart, whose 70 caps make him the most tenured player on a refreshingly young squad, seem obvious choices to prevent Kane’s ascension to the captaincy in the near future.

“We just want to go out there and do it again. We know it will be a bit tougher doing it away from home but, with the team we have got and the confidence we have got, we know we just have to go out there and not get too caught up in the moment.

“You have to be professional. Of course, it is going to be a passionate game but it’s about being calm and composed and sticking to the game plan. I feel we can do that. I feel we have a level-headed squad.”

Wayne Rooney wasn’t told he was dropped by England

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Wayne Rooney, the captain of England and Manchester United, was dropped from the Three Lions’ squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifier at Scotland and the friendly in France.

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We learned that last week, but England boss Gareth Southgate revealed on Tuesday that he didn’t call Rooney to discuss the reasons why his skipper and the all-time leading goalscorer was left out of the squad.

Asked if he had spoken to Rooney to tell him about being left out of a second-straight England squad following a season mostly spent on the bench at Manchester United, Southgate revealed there had been no talks.

“Not this time,” Southgate said. “In the end, there is only so many times you can speak about the situation. We’ve been very clear. I am very conscience from his point of view that it is a big story when you don’t select him. I want to do that in the right way. Equally, when we have had previous conversations, there’s no point in revisiting those at this stage.”

So, Rooney found out like the rest of us last week when the squad was announced. England’s all-time leading goalscorer (53 goals) and appearance holder for an outfield player (119 caps) didn’t warrant a heads up. There’s something not quite right about that.

Southgate added that Rooney’s international career “doesn’t have to be” over and that “there’s no way we would dismiss him” from future England rosters  but Rooney not playing regularly for United (just 15 starts in the PL this season) has been a huge reason why he’s no longer part of England’s plans.

For now, Rooney is on the outside looking in and until he can play regularly it will remain that way.

“From Wayne’s point of view he’s not played very much this season. Other people have come into the squad and done very well, in very good form,” Southgate said. “As far as I’m concerned it would appear Wayne has got some decisions to make across the summer regarding next season… I have no idea what the future is for Wayne at Manchester United, so it is very difficult for me to comment if he’s part of the plans there or not. We hope he is back playing regularly and playing well and he is a fantastic player to have in your squad.”

England have yet to name a captain for the upcoming squad with the likes of Joe Hart, Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling perhaps the leading contenders for the role, but there’s no doubt the biggest story regarding the Three Lions right now is Rooney’s future, and if he has one with the national team.

The upcoming World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park against England’s bitter rivals Scotland could see Marcus Rashford supporting Harry Kane in attack.

There may be no way back for Rooney who had previously stated his intention to retire from the international game following the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer.

England have given him a pass for much of the last 12 months but now they can’t justify having him in the squad as a passenger.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Rooney has future decided, Navas, Clichy leave Man City

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Wayne Rooney appears to have made up his mind about his footballing future.

Speaking to reporters in Stockholm, Sweden following Manchester United’s 2-0 Europa League final victory over Ajax, Rooney revealed that he has numerous offers, both at home and abroad, and that he had “more or less” made up his mind.

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“There are lots of offers on the table, both in England and abroad, and that’s what I have to decide on,” Rooney said, via The Guardian. “I’ve got some decisions to make now over the next few weeks so I will talk with my family and then I’ll decide. I think I have to make a decision in terms of a football decision, and that’s what I’ll do, I’ll do that the next few weeks with my family while I’m away and as soon as I know what’s going on I’m sure you will.”

If Rooney does call time on his Manchester United stay, it will end a 13-year run with the club, having signed as a teenager from Everton in 2004. Despite being Manchester United’s leading scorer with 253 goals in 559 appearances, he never really won over the fans and won’t be remembered necessarily in the legendary status along with Ryan Giggs and Sir Bobby Charlton. Although he had seasons of 26 and 27 league goals, he was never able to keep up that goal-scoring consistency, although some of that can be chalked up to sacrificing his forward position for a deeper role to help defensively.

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Rooney, now 31-years old, won the Premier League five times with Manchester United as well as the UEFA Champions League and now Europa League once each. Rooney’s current Manchester United contract runs through June 2019, having signed an extension in 2014.

As Wayne Rooney continues to ponder his future, across town at Manchester City, the club has parted ways with four first-team players.

Man City announced Thursday that left back Gael Clichy, winger Jesus Navas, right back Bacary Sagna and goalkeeper Willy Caballero have all left the club. All four are at the end of their contracts and the quartet can leave on free transfers.

“It’s been a special six years for me at City,” Clichy said in a statement. “To win four major trophies and help establish the Club as one of the top teams in English football has been an incredible journey that I’m proud to have been a part of.

Clichy joined Man City in 2011 as it began its spending-spree to join the British and European elite soccer clubs while Navas joined in 2013 and both Caballero and Sagna a year later.

The three departures are not surprising and are likely part of a plan between manager Pep Guardiola and sporting director Txiki Begiristain to bolster the squad with younger players who can play in Guardiola’s high-intensity and high-pressure system.

Guardiola is expected to have a large transfer budget to upgrade his team this summer following a third-place finish in the Premier League and with three highly-paid players off the books, there’s also now more room in the wage budget to accommodate new signings.

Rooney left off England squad for matches with Scotland, France

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This summer could be the start of a new era with the England National Team.

England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney was left out of Gareth Southgate‘s 25-man squad ahead of a pair of international matches in June. England faces Scotland on June 10 in a World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park before traveling to the Stade de France three days later for a friendly match with Les Blues.

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While Rooney didn’t make the squad, his Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford did make the team, with Southgate preferring him to be with the senior squad instead of play for England’s Under-21s at the UEFA Under-21 Championship this June in Poland.

“He’s in the senior squad on merit, and has been for a year,” Southgate said to FA.com. “He had one game with the Under-21s when I was there in September and he was outstanding that day, but he’s not really been a part of the Under-21 squad. His performances warrant him being in the senior squad.”

Other notable inclusions in the squad are Tottenham right back Kieran Trippier, who is in line for his first senior international cap, as well as 34-year-old Sunderland forward Jermain Defoe, coming off back-to-back Premier League seasons with 15 league goals.

If Rooney’s time with the Three Lions is over, it would mark a true changing of the guard in the England squad. Rooney, who has 119 caps and is England’s all-time leading goal scorer with 53 goals, made his debut in 2003 in a friendly match against Australia, at the time becoming the youngest player to make his England debut at the age of 17. The record was broken by Theo Walcott.

Rooney came to prominence with the Three Lions with a burst in Euro 2004 in Portugal, leading England to the quarterfinals. Perhaps England could have gone farther if Rooney hadn’t broken a bone in his foot and had to limp off in the first half of England’s ouster against Portugal.

Since then, it’s been a mixed bag for Rooney. While he’s scored bags of goals, he’s never really lived up to the hype in the big tournaments.

Under his watch, England’s never made it past the quarterfinals in either the World Cup or European Championships and he’s been part of big disappointments, including failing to qualify for Euro 2008 and getting bounced by Iceland in Euro 2016. England also failed to make it out of the group stage at the last World Cup.

It’s possible that Southgate left Rooney off the squad purely based on form as Defoe was included, but it could be a sign of things to come, which is a chance for younger players like John Stones, Alli and Kane to take leadership positions within the team.

“Three trophies and CL”: Mourinho relieved after “most difficult season”

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Don’t try to tell Jose Mourinho that his first season at Manchester United wasn’t a raging success, because all you’d get in return is a simple shake of the head before he walks away.

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Following Wednesday’s Europa League final victory over Ajax, one which put Man United into next season’s UEFA Champions League, Mourinho was adamant that the club’s 2016-17 season was a success, despite the fact the Red Devils finished sixth in the Premier League.

“Three trophies in one season and the Champions League,” as Mourinho put it, in his “most difficult season as a manager” — quotes from the BBC:

“We totally deserved the win. I am so happy to see the boys with the crutches with the trophy and now I am on holiday. I don’t want to see any international friendlies, I am selfish. I can’t do it.

“For me, enough is enough. It has been a very hard last few months, we were short of numbers.

“Three trophies in one season and the Champions League. I am very happy in my most difficult season as a manager.”

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As for his summer shopping list and Wayne Rooney‘s future at the club, well… Mourinho was much clearer about one than the other — quotes from the BBC:

“Ed Woodward has my list, what I want, what I would like for more than two months. So now it’s up to him and the owners. But I don’t care about football for now.

“Wayne Rooney was ready to play, he was a big option. But I didn’t need to attack at 2-0. I told him yesterday that he could be the key man but he can perfectly be here next season. He is a very important player for us. If he stays next season I’d be very happy.”