Facing huge challenge to retain my England place: Rooney

Alicante (Spain), Nov 13 (IANS) England national football team captain Wayne Rooney believes he is facing a “huge challenge” to remain his country’s first-choice striker after being left out of the team for a friendly match against Spain here.

The 30-year-old, who recently overtook great Bobby Charlton to become the Three Lions’ all-time top goal-scorer with 49 goals, will be replaced by Harry Kane in Friday’s match.

England manager Roy Hodgson has insisted the change is purely to experiment with his attacking options, though Rooney has acknowledged he is no longer a guaranteed starter.

“If the manager needs to have a look to see what he can do at international level, you have to understand that. It’s a huge challenge to keep your place in the team and that’s what I want to do. I want to prove myself,” Rooney was quoted as saying by goal.com on Thursday.

“I feel that since Roy has been in charge, my international form has been great, I have scored a lot of goals and I hope that will continue.”

The Manchester United skipper said a good number of strikers in the squad is making it difficult to make a cut in the starting XI.

“As a footballer you want to play. But then I have to understand I have played a lot of games for England and players like Jamie Vardy have come in and done well,” he said.

“It’s certainly the best group of strikers since I’ve been involved in the squad. We’ve also got players such as Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Theo Walcott out injured so it’s a huge array of talent and great for the country.”

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