Rooney: England starting place a huge challenge


England captain Wayne Rooney has conceded his place in the national team is far from certain after manager Roy Hodgson dropped him for Friday's international friendly against Spain.

Hodgson has opted to rest 107-cap veteran Rooney, with Harry Kane and Ross Barkley given the chance to impress up front in Alicante.

Rooney has struggled for form and consistency this season, managing just two Premier League goals in 11 appearances.

The 30-year-old is aware he faces a huge challenge to retain his place in the national team and accepts competition has become fierce.

"It's the best group of strikers, certainly since I've been involved in the squad," Rooney said.

"You've got players like Welbeck, Sturridge, Theo, out injured and it's a huge array of talent and it's great for the country.

"In previous years, we've gone into tournaments and haven't had that many match-winners in the squad. Now we've got quite a few match-winners, which can benefit us as a team."

Rooney added: "I think there has always been competition.

"You want to play all the games. But then, obviously, you have to understand I have played a lot of games for England and players like Jamie Vardy have come in and done well.

"If the manager needs to have a look to see what he can do at international level, so... you have to understand that but, of course, as I have said, it's a huge challenge to keep your place in the team and that's what I want to do. I want to prove myself.

"I feel, certainly since Roy has been in charge, my international form has been great, I have scored a lot of goals and I hope that will continue."