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More “mature” Rooney remains in England vice captain role

Oct 14, 2012, 8:05 PM EDT

England v San Marino - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Getty Images

The reviews have all been positive on Wayne Rooney’s elevation last week to England captain (an exalted and probably over-valued position around the Three Lions program England … but we’ll stay on point here.)

Rooney was handed the captain’s armband last week in what looked to be a comfortable win waiting to happen. It was, as England made quick work of tiny San Marino in a 5-0 World Cup qualifying win at Wembley.

Tougher matches are ahead, like Tuesday’s at Poland. And since we’re dealing with two volatile forces here. England’s captaincy tends to come with a certain turbulence. (Most recently, see: John Terry.) And then there’s Rooney, who can be a naughty and impulsive boy from time to time.

So, handing the Manchester United striker the captain band didn’t exactly have “slam dunk success” written all over it.

Still, England manager Roy Hodgson doesn’t have to put the choice in ink just yet. Steven Gerrard is back for Tuesday’s qualifier, so he’ll re-take the captaincy. Hodgson, meanwhile, has invented a role for Rooney as deputy captain or vice captain or whatever. What Hodgson said about Rooney with the arm band:

It’s something he’s very proud of, something he really wants to do, he does take playing for England unbelievably seriously and the good thing for us is that we are now seeing the best of Wayne Rooney. In earlier games since I took over, for various reasons, maybe he wasn’t at his best. I’ve got to hope now that he stays at this level, stays fit and healthy, and continues to do what he’s doing for Manchester United and England.”

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