Wayne Rooney returns to captain England versus Scotland

The Manchester United forward has been out of form but he will return to captain England in a game that Gareth Southgate needs to win.

England's Wayne Rooney during training
Carl Recine REUTERS

Striker Wayne Rooney will return to England's starting line-up as captain for Friday's World Cup qualifier against Scotland as his experience in the tense encounter will be vital for the young squad, interim manager Gareth Southgate said.

Rooney was dropped from the starting team for England's lacklustre Group F qualifier draw with Slovenia last month and has been largely used as a substitute by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

Captain Rooney

"Yes, he is," Southgate told reporters on Thursday when asked if Rooney will captain the side against Scotland.

Gareth Southgate talks with England's striker Wayne Rooney during a team training session.

The 31-year-old Rooney recently broke his 11-game lean spell for United when he scored in the 2-1 Europa League defeat by Turkish side Fenerbahce last week. He subsequently returned to the club's Premier League starting line-up in Sunday's win over Swansea City.

"(Rooney) is in a better place than he was (before) ... in terms of his sharpness. There was no hesitation from me in selecting him," Southgate added.

Form and experience

"He's playing well for Manchester United, I think he's a player who (needs to) get into a rhythm," Southgate says.

"Wayne uses his experience very well, especially for the younger lads. He's a big part in trying to get the victory."

Following England's goalless draw in Slovenia and an underwhelming home win over Malta in World Cup qualifiers last month, Southgate has two more games to convince the Football Association (FA) that he is the right man for the job.