England vs Malta: Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott confirmed as starters in Gareth Southgate's first team

England caretaker boss Gareth Southgate confirmed Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott will start against Malta.

But the former under-21s boss would not give away the rest of the team as he prepares to take charge of his first national team game in the World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

Rooney will captain the side, though Southgate would not say whether the Manchester United man will start in attack or midfield.

“Yes he will (start). No I can’t (confirm his position),” Southgate told a press conference in St Albans, before also revealing Walcott, who was sat beside him, would start.

“I know everybody is keen to know the team early. The players are aware of the team. I’m sure the team will leak out, I know that’s what happens, but I don’t see the point of giving the opposition the advantage of knowing our team.”

When pressed on what Rooney could offer if he were to play in midfield, Southgate added: “Well I think his ability to control games, his experience.

“I think this is a game where we will have a lot of the ball. In the past few matches Malta have had 35, 40 per cent of the ball so I expect us to control the game and we’re going to have to show patience.

“I want us to be brave with the ball. One of the messages I wanted to get across to the players this week was I want to see an England team that are brave in possession and prepared to take chances, prepared to risk in one v one situations.”

Starting XI:

England (4-3-3): Hart; Walker, Stones, Cahill, Rose; Henderson, Rooney, Alli; Walcott, Sturridge, Rashford.

Malta (4-4-1-1): Hogg; Camilleri, Borg, Zerafa, Agius; Failla, Fenech, Sciberras, Scicluna; Schembri; Effiong.


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