Rooney: I'm facing 'huge challenge' to retain my England place

The captain of the national team has admitted for the first time that he faces a battle on his hands with the likes of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy to retain his position in the side
England captain Wayne Rooney says he faces a "huge challenge" to remain his country's first-choice striker after being left out of the team for Friday's friendly against Spain.

The 30-year-old, who recently overtook Bobby Charlton to become the Three Lions' all-time top goalscorer on 49 goals, will be replaced by Harry Kane.

England boss Roy Hodgson has insisted the change is purely to experiment with his attacking options, though Rooney has acknowledged he is no longer a guaranteed starter.

He said: “If the manager needs to have a look to see what he can do at international level, you have to understand that.

"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 that 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.

“As a footballer you want to play. But then I have to understand I have played a lot of games for England and players like Jamie Vardy have come in and done well.

"It’s certainly the best group of strikers since I’ve been involved in the squad.

"We’ve also got players such as Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Theo Walcott out injured so it’s a huge array of talent and 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 only benefit us as a team.”