Rooney to captain England as Lampard ruled out
LONDON (Reuters) - Wayne Rooney will be given the opportunity to captain England for the first time in a competitive international in their World Cup qualifier against San Marino after Frank Lampard was ruled out of the match through injury.
England face the European minnows at Wembley on Friday, four days before a sterner test against Poland in Warsaw.
Rooney, who has 76 caps for England and missed the opening two Group H matches after suffering a nasty cut playing for Manchester United, captained his country in a friendly against Brazil three years ago.
Rooney, who also missed England's opening two European championship matches this year through suspension, said there would be no repeat of the petulant behaviour that led to him being sent off against Montenegro last October.
"That was a stupid thing to do. I regretted it the moment I did it," Rooney, who was given his marching orders for kicking Miodrag Dzudovic, told the BBC.
"I apologised to the players and paid the price. That won't happen again.
"If you have seen my performances after that at club level you will have seen the difference. I have cut out a lot of the silly tackles and silly mistakes I made as a young lad."
England manager Roy Hodgson gave Rooney his backing on Thursday.
"I enjoy working with Wayne, we had a good Euros," he told reporters.
"I was disappointed of course when he got that terrible gash and I was even worried it would keep him out not only of the September games but also of the October games.
"Luckily he has made a quick recovery and will certainly captain the team in the first one."
Vice-captain Lampard had been in line to lead out the team on Friday in the absence of usual captain Steven Gerrard who is suspended for the match.
"Frank had a scan earlier in the week. He tried to train apart from the team on Wednesday morning and he still felt a problem with his calf. There has been a slight tear.
"It's not a major problem but the best thing is for him to go back to his club and receive treatment on a daily basis. We will reassess the situation on Sunday."
Lampard's Chelsea team mate Ryan Bertrand has also pulled out of the squad for Friday's match through illness.
The left-sided player, who will also be re-assessed on Sunday, used an expletive as he reacted angrily on social network site Twitter to accusations he had withdrawn from the squad due to a sore throat.
He said: "Just to clarify. It's not a 'sore throat' I'm ill. Swollen glands in my neck. And constant headache for 3 days now and freezing cold. Do you think a 'sore throat' could stop me being a part of a match for my club or country? #yourf******nuts this is what every boy dreams of."
After Chelsea defender Ashley Cole was forced to apologise to FA chairman David Bernstein for a Twitter insult he aimed at the governing body last week, Hodgson used the Bertrand incident to caution his players against stepping out of line.
"It's a reminder," Hodgson said. "His sentiments were laudable. He was a little irritated but his choice of words was wrong but it reminds us how unbelievably careful the players have to be."
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