Wayne Rooney is not the only man who will be under immense pressure when England take on Scotland in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on November 11.
The Manchester United star has it all to do in order to prove he is still worthy of a starting role in the national side – the prospect of which is looking increasingly bleak in the wake of his stuttering form.
Rooney – who was stripped of his starting role against Slovenia during midweek – faces a daunting task to prevent his international career from crumbling in its latter stages.
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Gareth Southgate is likely to take over permanently should England defeat Scotland next month, he is prepared to take any action necessary to secure the job.
According to the Mirror, the former Middlesborough manager is expected to leave Rooney on the bench once more against the old enemy unless he demonstrates a significant boost in form ahead of the crunch fixture.
Rooney remains the first-choice captain in the eyes of the 46-year-old for the time being, though he also stands to lose the armband pending whether Southgate is offered the England role on a full-time basis.
Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson stepped in as skipper for the match against Slovenia, though Tottenham ace Harry Kane is also considered a suitable candidate to take over the role based on his time playing under Southgate with the England U21s.
Rooney – who will celebrate his 32nd birthday later this month – is set to be included in the squad to play Scotland and then Spain in a friendly four days later.
While the all-time leading goalscorer for England is unlikely to give up the armband nor his place in the team without a fight, it is difficult to identify a position in which he can re-establish himself as regular starter.
The fact Southgate afforded Rooney just 17 minutes of action against Slovenia despite Kane, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck being unavailable against Malta and Slovenia says enough.
However, if Rooney can overturn his poor run of form in a United shirt or when an injury crisis strikes, he may well get a chance to nudge his way back into the side.
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