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Rooney discusses being dropped by England for Slovakia qualifier

England Press Conference

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA - OCTOBER 10: Wayne Rooney of England takes a tour of the stadium before an England press conference ahead of the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Group F match between Slovenia and England at Stadion Stozice on October 10, 2016 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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England is 2-0 in UEFA World Cup qualifying, but has been anything but inspiring in either contest (though we suppose that depends on your conception of England as a force in world soccer).

So the captain is headed for the bench in favor of Eric Dier. Wayne Rooney will not be playing on Tuesday, and manager Gareth Southgate has called the move a “tactical decision”.

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Obviously Rooney isn’t thrilled by the move, but is upset at himself not the manager.

From the BBC:

“My game now? Of course, I’m not denying it is in a difficult period. I’ve been on the bench the last few games for Manchester United but that’s part of football,” said Rooney, who is England’s most-capped outfield player.

“I have to work hard and when I’m needed for both club and country, I’ll make sure I’m ready.”

It’s always tricky when you have a player go from world beater to simply a contributor, and there’s a good chance Rooney really does understand his relative struggles.

This is the right move for both Southgate and Rooney. Perhaps the Manchester United captain is exhausted, and of course there’s also the chance that he won’t reclaim anything near his top form. Yet the odds are, as he edges toward his 31st birthday later this month, Rooney is going to be far from the top option for United and England.

That’s life, and not really his fault. He’s mortal, obviously.

Follow @NicholasMendola