Gareth Southgate backs captain Wayne Rooney to hit a purple patch ahead of Scotland clash

Gareht Southgate expects Wayne Rooney to hit a purple patch of form for both club and country.

Gareth Southgate backs captain Wayne Rooney to hit a purple patch ahead of Scotland clash
Above: Wayne Rooney with England interim manager Gareth Southgate | Photo: Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths

England interim manager Gareth Southgate has said that he expects Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney to hit a purple patch in form for both club and country, after confirming him in his starting XI for the clash with Scotland

Heading into a patch of form 

It has been a poor few months for the club and international skipper, lacking in both goals and form which has seen come under some criticism, with his poor form saw him dropped for the last international in the 0-0 draw with Slovenia. 

However he has improved since then, with United's 3-1 win over Swansea City proving to the high point. His performance has earned him a start against Gordon Strachan's side, and Southgate who could earn the England job on a permanent basis in the next week, has said that he expects Rooney to hit a good run of form. 

"He doesn't have anything to prove to me. He is a big-game player with big-match experience and I think a night like tomorrow is perfect for him," he said. "Part of being a top professional for years is that you have to grind the difficult moments out." 

"There's matches and periods where you know you are not at your best and they're games you have to grind out and play your part for the team," the coach assessed. "And then there's other moments where you start to get into a flow and everything is happening more naturally." 

He added: "To me, he looks like he is just heading into that period, which is great for us." 

Southgate concluded: "To my mind, even in his training, he looks freer in his mind and I think that is the key to people being able to perform."

 

Moving to the far east 

Rooney has also been a less regular feature in the Red Devils starting line-up, with Jose Mourinho leaving him out on occasions this season. This has led to rumours of a possible return to boyhood club Everton, but it also emerged that he was approached for a move to China this Summer. 

It has been revealed by honorary chairman of  Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan Lou Ning, that they approached the 31-year-old in the summer, and even met Rooney's agent Paul Stretford. However Ning revealed that the striker had a desire to remain at Old Trafford. 

He told a Beijing radio sports show: "We indeed made an approach for Rooney at the beginning of the season but he's informed us that he wants to stay in Manchester United."

Ning added: "Rooney says he'll keep playing in the Premier League as long as his health allows. We even met with his agent."

England will take on Scotland in their 2018 World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium on Friday, November 11 with kick-off at 7:45pm BST.