x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Rooney: Terry is a leader for England

Striker dismisses a potential squad rift as Fabio Capello's squad met up yesterday for the first time since the defender's affair with the former partner of Wayne Bridge.

Wayne Rooney lifts the Carling Cup at Wembley after Manchester United beat Aston Villa.
Wayne Rooney lifts the Carling Cup at Wembley after Manchester United beat Aston Villa.

Wayne Rooney underlined John Terry's value to the England team and claimed the dressing room is still united after Fabio Capello's squad met up yesterday for the first time since the defender's affair with the former partner of Wayne Bridge. There were fears Terry would face a backlash from his England teammates in the wake of the revelation about his relationship with Vanessa Perroncel, the mother of Bridge's son. But despite Terry being stripped of the captaincy and Bridge making himself unavailable for selection - he described the situation as "untenable and potentially divisive" - Rooney reported that it was business as usual ahead of the friendly with Egypt at Wembley tomorrow.

"The squad has been no different since we've met up," said Rooney. "Wayne Bridge is a fantastic player and especially now with Ashley Cole being injured I'm sure he'd have been the one to take his place. It's unfortunate but it's his decision and you have to respect it." Terry's form has suffered since news of the affair broke but Roo-ney believes the 58-cap defender remains an integral part of the team and will be one of Capello's on-field lieutenants despite losing the captaincy.

"John is a leader for our team," said the striker. "He hasn't got the armband but he is still a great player and a great leader. "He is a great player. I think he's been named in the world XI for the last three years. "There are no worries about his form, that's for sure." Terry has been given a hostile recception at English Premier League grounds for his off-field behaviour and the reaction of the England fans tomorrow night will be fascinating.

"I've been in the team when a few players have been booed at Wembley and it's not nice, said Rooney. "I hope he gets a good reception." @Email:kaffleck@thenational.ae