Ljubljana: England captain and all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney has been dropped to the bench for the World Cup qualifier away to Slovenia on Tuesday, interim manager Gareth Southgate said.
Liverpool`s Jordan Henderson will lead the side out in Ljubljana as England look to maintain their perfect start to qualifying.
Manchester United star Rooney dropped back to play as a deep-lying midfielder in England`s 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley on Saturday and was booed by some sections of the home support during a lacklustre display.
"It`s very straight forward," Southgate told reporters in Ljubljana on Monday as he explained why Rooney, best known as a forward but now increasingly deployed in midfield by England, had been left out.
"We have looked at the way Slovenia play and I knew in my mind the profile of the midfield I wanted to play in this game.
"In no way is it a reflection of Wayne`s performance on Saturday," former England defender Southgate added.
"He had a lot of the ball, played with great tactical discipline. It`s not an easy decision to take because of the respect I have for him as the captain of this team."
Rooney, sitting alongside Southgate at the press conference, said: "I think of course you want to play. I understand and respect the manager`s decision. I will support the players 100 percent and try to help them get three points. I will be ready to come off the bench if needed.
"Hopefully we can get the three points. I show great pride in playing for my country whether that`s from the start or the bench," added the 30-year-old, also on the bench for United`s last three matches.