LONDON (GUARDIAN) - Wayne Rooney will not play in England's game against Estonia on Friday and is expected to return home when the rest of the squad fly to Lithuania for Monday's match, with Roy Hodgson giving increased thought to using Theo Walcott in the striker's position he now holds down for Arsenal.
Hodgson was already contemplating shifting Walcott from his wide position after watching him put in an outstanding display for Arsenal against Manchester United, but Rooney's injury situation has made it even more likely England's manager will make the same switch as Arsene Wenger at some point over the next two games.
Rooney missed training for the second day running when England held their latest session at St George's Park and, though he stayed with the squad as captain, there is an acceptance behind the scenes there is no point risking him when the team have already qualified.
Rooney picked up a relatively minor injury during United's 3-0 defeat at the Emirates and, barring an unexpected recovery, he will not be involved when England play the last home game of the Euro 2016 qualifying group stages.
Danny Ings, who had been hoping to make his England debut, is a doubt after missing the last two training sessions and Jonjo Shelvey was another absentee.
Gary Cahill will take the captain's armband if Rooney is missing and Walcott is hoping his performance against United may have persuaded Hodgson to give him a chance at establishing himself as a striker for the national team.
"I have had to wait my time," Walcott said. "It has been well documented I have wanted to play up front and Arsenal have given me the opportunity, which is great. It is taking that form into England and trying to stay there, that is the next goal in my career.
"I've played up front for Arsenal, so there's an opportunity there, but again I can operate on the right, which I've been doing most of my career. Harry Kane has done very well for England.
"Danny Ings has come in and Jamie Vardy is the leading English goalscorer in the Premier League. We're all completely different players so they are great options for a manager to have."