In Depth

Wayne Rooney back as captain as FA stand firm on poppies

Manchester United striker will lead England against Scotland in World Cup qualifier at Wembley

Wayne Rooney will return to the England squad as captain for the World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Friday, a month after he was dropped by interim manager Gareth Southgate.

Announcing the decision, Southgate said: "He is better placed than he was for the last get-together in terms of his sharpness and confidence and I think he is an experienced player for a game like this... This is a team that has a lot of energy and potential, but you need some experience around it as well."

The decision gives the Manchester United striker the "chance to reassert his authority within the national team", says The Guardian, which adds he has also forced his way back into his club team after a spell on the fringes.

England's last outing was a "turgid stalemate" against Slovenia at Wembley that ended 0-0, says The Times, and was more notable for Rooney's absence than the quality of the football.

"It was the first time Rooney had been dropped by England since his breakthrough in 2003 and his immediate recall grants him an opportunity to deliver on his promise that he is not finished at this level," says the paper.

Meanwhile, the FA has "vowed to fight any Fifa attempt to punish England for wearing armbands sporting poppies in their World Cup qualifier against Scotland", reports the Daily Telegraph.

Fifa says the symbol contravenes its rules on displaying political, religious, commercial or personal images on kits, despite the fact England wore the same armbands in 2011.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said he was unconcerned by the threat of punishment. "I'm very confident that our legal position's right, our moral position's certainly right and you know what? There are bigger things in the game for Fifa to worry about," he said.

Wilshere back in love with football and ready for Scotland

9 November

Jack Wilshere is back in love with football and relishing the prospect of playing against Scotland on Friday. 

The Arsenal midfielder, currently on loan with Bournemouth, described the World Cup qualifier against the 'Auld Enemy' as a "massive game", and explained that England manager Gareth Southgate has been showing the squad clips of previous games between the two countries. 

"The manager showed us a video of past games going back to Paul Gascoigne and that era," said Wilshere. "It was nice. We know what it means as players... we have played at Celtic Park and at Wembley and on both occasions we know their best players really well – a lot of them play in the Premier League. It's almost going to be like a Premier League game."

Wilshere last played for the Three Lions in the disastrous 2016 European Championship campaign, and since then the 24-year-old has experienced a major upheaval to his career. Arsenal, the club for whom he first played as a 16-year-old, loaned him to Bournemouth in August in a move that surprised many, and led some to question whether Wilshere's career was on the wane.

But Wilshere says the move to the South Coast was just what he needed after an injury-plagued few seasons at Arsenal where he rarely featured for the Gunners. "I missed the fight of the Premier League, being in big games and making a difference for a team," said Wilshere. "I wanted to feel that again and almost fall back in love with the game."

Wilshere, who has won 34 international caps since making his debut in 2010, believes that playing once again for England will also assist in his rejuvenation. "At the moment I am just trying to have a season where it puts me in a good position at the end of the year, that I have improved as a player and Arsenal want me back," he said.

Asked if he ever asked himself that the Gunners might not want him back, he replied: "I love Arsenal, but if there comes a time when I have to leave, then I have to leave... If I go back and I'm still not playing then of course I will have to think about things but at the moment I'm concentrating on Bournemouth."

But whatever happens next summer, Wilshere says he has no regrets about leaving the Emirates. "It was a tough decision for me to go out on loan," he admitted. "I could have stayed at Arsenal, been the player that comes on now and again and starts the odd game here and there. But I wanted to prove [myself] to people. When it comes to next year, I think I'll have that experience and also have said to people that I've made big decisions when it comes to my career and when it comes I'll have to make another decision.”

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