Wayne Rooney boosted by captaincy nod against Scotland

The Manchester United striker will lead his side out on Friday morning

Wayne Rooney

Image: Mike Egerton PA Wire/PA Images

Gareth Southgate has thrown his backing behind Wayne Rooney and has handed him the captains armband for Friday's clash with Scotland.

The 31-year-old didn't feature in England's scoreless draw against Slovenia and is England's record goalscorer with 53 goals.

"He's in a better place than for the last get-together in terms of his sharpness and confidence," Southgate told Thrsday's press conference ahead of the game.

"He's an experienced player for a game like this and there is no hesitation to be playing him... He's playing well. He's played well for the last couple of matches for Manchester United.

"I think he's in a rhythm of playing that helps. So he's confident and I think that experience in a game like this is of importance with a team that has a lot of energy and potential. But also you need some experienced players around that."

Gareth Southgate was joined alongside Jordan Henderson for Thursday morning's press conference. Image: Nick Potts PA Wire/PA Images

The other major talking point heading into the game was the fact that the English FA has been instructed by FIFA not to wear poppies on their jerseys in memory of Armistice Day. The bands, FIFA say, constitutes a political symbol which is banned from being worn on player's equipment.

Both the Scottish and English FA will defy this order and Southgate says he is content that the issue has been addressed.

"We're just pleased everything was resolved last week, that we can honour the sacrifice of those who have gone before us," said Southgate.

"It's part of our identity as a nation."

Jordan Henderson, who accompanied Southgate at the press conference, said: "The poppy is very important for the country and the players to remember what those people did for this country, the sacrifice."

Southgate was also asked if he would like to continue as the permanent England manager after his interim period in charge.

"I'm really enjoying being in the role... What happens to me is not important. We have to win this game for the country, and because we want to be top of the group and heading to in Russia.

"What happens to me is important to my family, but other than that it isn't the purpose of the game. I want the players to enjoy the football and play well.

"My focus is 100% on the match and it would irresponsible and unprofessional for it to be any other way."