Rooney is England captain

Rooney is England captain

Wayne Rooney was named England captain on Thursday, taking over the leadership role of an inexperienced team in a rebuilding phase following its worst-ever World Cup.

“He certainly deserves it, his commitment to the cause,” England coach Roy Hodgson said at Wembley. “He is prepared to accept the pressures the England captaincy brings.”

Hodgson confirmed the Manchester United player’s appointment -- from a small pool of potential captains -- while naming the squad for England’s first European Championship qualifier against Switzerland on September 8 and a friendly against Norway on Wednesday.Defenders Calum Chambers and Danny Rose, and midfielders Jack Colback and Fabian Delph were called up for the first time.

Rooney has been handed the symbolically-prestigious captaincy role following Steven Gerrard’s retirement despite a rocky relationship in the past with fans, questions about his temperament following red cards, and facing criticism over indiscretions in his personal life.“He has that baggage with him and he will have to accept that as a further part of the pressure,” Hodgson said.

“It’s wrong of me to read too much into the past and any misdemeanors he might have had in that time,” the coach added. “In the two years he has been with me I have had no reason to question anything about him, his desire or his commitment.”

Rooney, who also recently assumed the United captaincy, wants past issues to be forgotten as England embarks on the road to Euro 2016.