• Wayne Rooney succeeds Steven Gerrard as England skipper
• Calum Chambers, Fabian Delph, Jack Colback and Danny Rose get first call-up
• England to play Norway next Wednesday
Roy Hodgson has handed Wayne Rooney the mantle of leadership at the England senior national team just over two weeks after the striker accepted same responsibility at club level.
The 28-year-old, who has scored 40 goals and assisted 17 in 95 international caps, was arguably the “obvious choice” for the leadership role, and now succeeds Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, who retired from his country’s duty last month. He has been favoured ahead of the likes of Chelsea’s Gary Cahill and Manchester City’s Joe Hart.
Hodgson have also handed a maiden call-up to four players- Newcastle United midfielder Jack Colback, Arsenal defender Calum Chambers, Tottenham full-back Danny Rose and Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph- in his squad for two forthcoming internationals.
Rooney, who has worn the England armband on two previous occasions, will lead the new-look England squad when they take on Norway at Wembley on Wednesday and travel to Switzerland on 8 September for their first European Championships qualifier.
“I gave it a lot of thought but Wayne is an obvious choice. He deserves it, his commitment to the cause, his experience. he has captained England in the past and has that responsibility at Manchester United.
“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 players wants to take on that enormous responsibility.”
Rooney was subject of a huge debate during this year’s Fifa World Cup, with many calling for his relegation to the bench while he waited several hours to score a first World Cup goal- which eventually came in the 2-1 loss to Uruguay.
On the possibility of dropping the Manchester United skipper, Hodgson added: “When you name a captain it does go through your head that it will make it a lot harder if I had to drop him.”
“I don’t think Wayne would expect me to keep him in the team just because he is captain. I’d like to think if it was necessary I would do it (drop him) and I’m pretty convinced he would accept it.
“We’ve got players like Joe Hart and Gary Cahill in that they are experienced players, not new to the international team and play for big clubs. It would be harsh on them to say Wayne was the only choice. But had I chosen them it would have been unfair on Wayne Rooney – for most people it was his time and moment.”
Rooney, on his part, took to Twitter to express his appreciation, saying: “Being named England captain is a dream and something I’ll take great pride in doing.”
In an extended statement, Rooney adds: “As a kid I always loved the occasion of watching a big England game on the television. Back then I had a burning ambition to play for my country. Now to be appointed captain is beyond my wildest dreams.
“I would like to thank Roy and the coaching staff for having the belief and confidence in me to do the job.
“I hope I will have the full backing of the fans. I am their type of player once I am on that pitch. My only thought is to win and give everything I have got. Sharing that desire will be the way I want to captain the team.”
Tottenham winger Andros Townsend returns to the squad after missing the FIFA World Cup™ through injury and there is also a place for Everton’s 20-year-old defender John Stones.
Danny Rose has been rewarded for his good early-season form with Tottenham and Fabian Delph comes into the squad because of his progress at Aston Villa.
Jack Colback’s call up has come as the biggest surprise, but it is understood injury to several regulars has forced Hodgson to name the uncapped Newcastle midfielder in his squad.
England full squad
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)