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I'll be ready for England if needed, says axed Wayne Rooney

By Rory Dollard

Wayne Rooney accepts the England captaincy no longer comes with a guaranteed starting spot after interim manager Gareth Southgate made the bold decision to drop him in Slovenia.

Rooney's name has been inked into the first XI since 2003, and at the age of 30 he stands alone as the country's record goalscorer and most capped outfield player.

But, in a cramped press conference room at Ljubljana's Stadium Stozice, Southgate confirmed his status as a Three Lions untouchable was at an end.

"I've played 13 years non-stop for England, given everything, and a time comes when you're not the first name on the team sheet, like I have been in the past," said Rooney.

"I understand it's a difficult decision for Gareth. I respect the decision totally.

"All I can do is prepare for the game if needed."

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