England caretaker manager Gareth Southgate says he is ready to drop captain Wayne Rooney from the starting XI if he continues to struggle for form.

Rooney, 30, has lost his place in the Manchester United team after a run of poor form but played as a deep-lying midfielder in Englands 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Malta on 8 October.

The game was marred by a section of the crowd at Wembley booing Rooney, who is Englands all-time leading goal-scorer and outfield appearance-maker.

Southgate said he was unafraid of making tough decisions but suggested that the Manchester United captain is unlikely to be dropped from the team for the World Cup qualifier against Slovenia in Ljubljana on 11 October.

Ive got to make decisions which are right for the team and, whenever you select a team for England, youre going to leave out some players, the England interim manager was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

You look at the bench [against Malta] and there are guys who are playing every week in the Premier League, so you have to be prepared to do that (make tough decisions). Thats part and parcel of the job.

Southgate added: I think [Rooney] commands that respect. When he makes his observations and he speaks up, its clear that he talks with authority but also insight.

His knowledge is of a very high level, not just of the game but the dynamics of the group and the things they can learn and improve upon. Its impossible to feel that really unless you are inside it.
But Southgate hinted that Rooneys position in the England team might change if he continues to be on the bench at United.

The longer a situation goes where you are not playing with your club, it becomes more difficult, he stated.

England have maximum points from their two World Cup qualifiers and lead Group F by two points over Scotland.