Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard believes Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney should succeed him as England captain; heaps praise on England youngsters.

Steven Gerrard enjoyed a forgetful World Cup as England bowed out from the tournament in the group stages as they didn’t win a single name. As expected, he retired from international football. Since then, there is heavy speculation as to who will take over the responsibility of leading the Three Lions.

England manager Roy Hodgson will name his new skipper on Thursday when he announces his squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland (on September 8). Wayne Rooney is the most expected name. He was also announced as Manchester United’s skipper by Louis van Gaal.

Steven Gerrard said that he would want the Liverpool born player to succeed him as England’s captain.

“Wayne is a natural leader. Aside from being a top player, one who commands respect within the group, Wayne is passionate about representing his country and won’t be fazed by the responsibility.Before a game, he is one of the most vocal players in the dressing room. He wouldn’t be afraid of speaking up and talking to someone one to one, telling them what is expected. When he was my deputy, he gave me great support and during our 11 years with England I saw him blossom.

“There were times when, as a young lad, he didn’t always say the right things in the dressing room but he has matured and chooses his words carefully.”

We played together 71 times for England and at his best, he is a world-class talent. After the disappointment of Brazil, this is a fresh start for everyone and Wayne can lead the team positively into the new campaign.

The ex-England midfielder said he will know how Rooney would feel once he leads the team for the first time and would be delighted for the Manchester United striker. Gerrard said, “If and when he leads the team out on September 3, I’ll be delighted for him. We are two lads from council estates in Liverpool who have loved playing for England, and I know what emotions Wayne will feel when he stands at the head of the line in the tunnel.”

With no Frank Lampard in the equation, Rooney appears to be the obvious choice. The 28-year-old ex-Everton player has already captained England on a couple of times (friendly against Brazil in Qatar in November 2009 and in a World Cup qualifier against San Marino in October 2012).

Gerrard also heaped praise on England prodigies Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling. 

The 34 year old was impressed with Ross Barkley as soon as he made it to the senior side. Gerrard said, “He (Barkley) has got the potential to be world class. I was impressed with him from the moment he stepped into the senior ranks and he has the perfect body to be a midfielder — he is big, strong and well balanced; dynamic and skillful. Ross has got a tremendous temperament, too.”

Luke Shaw has enjoyed a tremendous year. From being bought for a whopping fee by Manchester United to being picked up for the England team, the Southampton youngster has been everyone’s ‘youngster to watch out for’ this year too. Gerrard believes that the full back will be with England for the next 10 years as Shaw takes over the reigns from Ashley Cole. Gerrard said, “I watched him play a couple of times for the Under-21s and he looked like a man joining in with a boys’ game. He is a left-back with power, speed and he can defend, too. He is going to be Manchester United and England’s left-back for the next 10 years.”

The Liverpool captain has praised his club teammate Raheem Sterling on various occasions and didn’t shy once more. He praised Sterling’s strength and his pace and said that the 19 year old (and Ross Barkley) can notch up to 100 caps for England.

“Not very big but he is as strong as an ox — he never gets knocked off the ball — and has electric pace. The goals and assists you are seeing him produce for Liverpool are one day soon going to be coming for England; he and Barkley are prime candidates to join the 100-cap club” said Gerrard.