Southgate has axed Rooney nicely… but is his England career over like Gazza and Becks?

Slovenia are tidy, organised and capable of attacking on the break but Southgate feels more comfortable with the more defensive nature of Eric Dier and replacement captain Jordan Henderson protecting his back four than the more forward-thinking Rooney.

“I think Eric and Jordan, in terms of their defensive responsibilities, their experience of playing in that role and their athleticism in that position of the field, are going to be asked to do a different type of role than we asked Wayne on Saturday,” said Southgate. “Against Malta, we needed someone with a calm head to control the game and be on the ball all the time.

“The challenge of the game against Slovenia is different and I also have to say I think Eric was our best player in the summer. He’s an outstanding young player and warrants his opportunity to play.”

There is nothing to suggest that Southgate’s assessment will be any different for the games against Scotland and Spain next month – as it stands, the date set for his own demise.

Although this week, Southgate has shown such unexpectedly strong leadership there may well be a clamour for the part-time arrangement to continue beyond.

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