CONFIRMED: Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney withdraws from the England squad with knee injury

Wayne Rooney has been released from the England squad after sitting out training on Monday with a knee injury.

Interim manager Gareth Southgate had already said the Manchester United forward would sit out Tuesday’s friendly with Spain whether he was injured or not.

The 31-year-old was dropped by Southgate for last month’s World Cup qualifying draw with Slovenia but captained the side for the 3-0 win over Scotland on Friday evening.

An FA statement read: “The striker sat out this morning’s session at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground as a precaution due to a minor knee injury.

“However, with Gareth Southgate already set to rest his captain for the visit of Spain to Wembley Stadium tomorrow night, Rooney has been allowed to return to his club for further assessment.”

Rooney was one of two players to miss training on Monday, along with left-back Ryan Bertrand.

Southgate’s decision to start without the national captain and record goalscorer would hardly have been unprecedented in a friendly match but his insistence that he is taking decisions he deems to be in England’s long-term interests, rather than his own prospects of being named permanent manager, cannot be coincidental.

Whether he no longer sees Rooney as an essential first-team pick, or simply wants the team to get used to playing without a man who has already telegraphed his retirement in 2018, is unclear.

Jordan Henderson will inherit the armband, as he did in Ljubljana, for the season-ending glamour tie.

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