Gareth Southgate maintains he could drop Wayne Rooney but stated he was pleased with his display

Gareth Southgate insists he is strong enough to drop Wayne Rooney.

Southgate says after having to make his own friends redundant while in charge of Middlesbrough, nothing will faze him.

Interim England boss Southgate was forced to make the cutbacks after Middlesbrough were relegated from the Premier League in 2009.

Southgate is now under increasing pressure to axe England captain Rooney who has admitted himself that he has been struggling for form this season.

Southgate believes he is strong enough to make the big decisions for the Three Lions Rooney’s influence continues to decline despite his deeper role

Rooney was even jeered by a section of fans at Wembley during England’s win over Malta and Southgate is giving consideration to taking him out of the firing line against Slovenia tomorrow.

When asked what was the biggest decision of his managerial career, Southgate replied: “Making some really close friends redundant. That’s probably as big as you can get.

“I’ve got to make decisions which are right for the team and whenever you select a team, with England, you’re going to leave some guys on the bench who are playing every week in the Premier League for their clubs.

Daniel Strurridge grabbed the opener for the hosts

“You have to be prepared to do that, that’s part and parcel of the job.”

But despite insisting that he would not be afraid to drop Rooney, Southgate hinted that the Manchester United star would probably play against Slovenia.

When asked whether Rooney had done enough to keep his place, Southgate said: “I was very pleased with his performance.

Dele Alli scored the second to continue his rise Southgate handed a debut to the impressive Jesse Lingard

“I felt the role he was asked to play he fulfilled. He was asked to dictate the game, play with positional discipline which we thought was very important.

“Him and Jordan Henderson as a pair did exactly as we hoped. Slovenia is a completely different game, we are likely to be playing against a different tactical system and away from home so we have got to assess all of those things with all of the players to pick the right team for that game.”