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Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 18:30 UK

Rooney 'can be England captain'

Fabio Capello (left) and Wayne Rooney
Capello (left) says Rooney has the right qualities to be captain

England coach Fabio Capello has earmarked Wayne Rooney as a future England captain but believes the striker needs more time to mature.

"Wayne Rooney is young but I believe in the future he could be captain of England one day," said the Italian.

"He is a leader, he is a good example on the pitch. We need to give him a bit more time to get some more experience and mature a bit.

"The good thing is he has got a big margin of improvement ahead of him."

Capello will continue to rotate the captain's armband before naming a permanent leader ahead of the World Cup qualifiers next season, which has led to Rooney, 22, being linked with the role.


England will next play the United States in a friendly next month but the Italian would not reveal who would lead out the side at Wembley.

"I am undecided who will be captain for the next game," said Capello. "But I do believe Rooney could one day be captain.

"He is the most talented young English player. He is very good at everything. The one thing he can improve is the number of chances he puts away.

"He doesn't convert as many as he could but I am sure that will come in the future."

Rooney has captained Manchester United but he is known to have a combustible temperament and has a mixed disciplinary record with both club and country.

He was sent off for England in the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal in 2006, a match England went on to lose on penalties.

In 2004 a teenaged Rooney was substituted at half-time against Spain as it was feared the frustrated striker would sooner or later be sent off. A year later Rooney was criticised by Sir Alex Ferguson after he was dismissed in a Champions League match against Villarreal for mocking referee Kim Milton Nielsen.

There is no problem between Michael Owen and me as far as I am concerned

Fabio Capello

Meanwhile, Capello, speaking during a trip to Lesotho to promote the Football Association's involvement in developing the game at grassroots level in Africa, denied there was a rift between himself and Michael Owen.

The Newcastle United striker had reportedly said he was confused by Capello's tactics during the friendly defeat to France.

But Capello said: "First of all, Michael Owen has denied making those comments to begin with and I have absolutely no problem with him. There is no problem between him and me as far as I am concerned.

"My relationship with Michael Owen is the same as with all the players. A good manager should have that equal relationship whether it is with Michael Owen, David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand or anyone else.

"I have a group of players and Michael Owen is part of my plans."

see also
Capello warning for absent stars
16 Apr 08 |  Internationals
England manager in Lesotho visit
14 Apr 08 |  African
Capello's optimism masks reality
27 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Capello satisfied despite defeat
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
France 1-0 England
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Live - International football
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Wednesday's football photos
26 Mar 08 |  Football
Ferdinand delight at captain role
25 Mar 08 |  Internationals

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