INNOVATING England skipper Wayne Rooney has introduced player-only meetings to the Three Lions camp in a bid to drastically improve flagging squad cohesion.
The Manchester United forward has a perfect record since being handed the captain’s armband by manager Roy Hodgson following the post-World Cup international retirement of previous incumbent Steven Gerrard and other elder statesmen such as Frank Lampard.
Rooney slammed home a second-half penalty as England edged past Norway in last week’s friendly at Wembley before leading his side to Euro 2016 qualifying victory in Switzerland, with the 28-year-old adamant his newly-formed gatherings are proving beneficial.
“We have had meetings among ourselves, just players in the rooms, watching videos and discussing how we can do better as a team,” said Rooney.
“In the meetings you’re having the players speak up who wouldn’t normally speak up when coaches are there. They’ve been good and I think the players have really stood up.”
But far from breeding an environment of cliques or distancing themselves from the management structures in place, Rooney insists the primary function of the meetings is to solve a lack familiarity among players due to the scheduling of the international football calendar.
“Obviously the manager gives us our game plan, but because we don’t spend that much time together as a team we need to know and feel confident in what we’re doing as a team,”he added.
“We’ve worked hard and, to be fair, the players have taken a lot of responsibility.”