Rooney in line for England captaincy boost

LONDON (AFP) - Wayne Rooney could be handed the England captaincy for the May 29 friendly against the Republic of Ireland as national team boss Roy Hodgson looks to boost the star's flagging confidence.

Rooney was dropped by Alex Ferguson for Manchester United's final home game of the season last weekend after he handed in a transfer request.

But Hodgson said Thursday that he would have no hesitation in handing the England armband to Rooney, 27, following Steven Gerrard's unavailability following shoulder surgery.

"He knows he is right up there," said Hodgson. "He has captained England once for me, at home to San Marino. "I know he enjoyed that experience and I am pretty sure there are times when he will captain England again."

Rooney has spoken to Hodgson to assure him the impending birth of his second child will not prevent him from meeting up on May 26, at the start of an eight-day gathering that also includes a game against Brazil at the Maracana.