Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Eric Dier will replace Wayne Rooney in the England side for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Slovenia.
Tottenham’s Dier has been given the nod to partner Jordan Henderson – who will captain the team – in midfield, with Rooney dropping to the bench.
England interim boss Southgate assessed Dier, who recently had a hamstring problem, in training on Monday morning and later confirmed that the 22-year-old will start in Ljubljana.
The change comes despite Southgate defending Rooney after the Manchester United man attracted criticism for his performance in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Malta.
But Southgate insisted the decision was purely based on Dier’s defensive qualities and not on Rooney’s display at Wembley.
“It’s very straightforward. I looked at how Slovenia play and when I looked at that I knew in my mind how I wanted to play. It’s no reflection of what he (Rooney) did on Saturday,” said Southgate at a press conference ahead of the match.
“It’s not an easy decision to take because of the respect I have for him as a player, as a person, and as captain of this team, but I felt it was the right decision.
“It’s clear we’re talking about two different profiles of player with different skills, and that’s the basis of the decision.”
Saturday’s win in Southgate’s first match in charge left England top of Group F after two games.
He is again expected to deploy Dier’s Spurs team-mate Dele Alli in the number 10 role he impressed in at the weekend.
And Tottenham’s Danny Rose is likely to start at left-back after coming on for the injured Ryan Bertrand against Malta.
Bertrand has been replaced in the squad by Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs.