Rooney praises enthusiasm of fallen Allardyce

Sam Allardyce will "deeply regret" his downfall as England manager, says Wayne Rooney, while Gary Cahill is disappointed by the affair.

Wayne Rooney believes Sam Allardyce's departure as England manager was unfortunate but the captain urged his team-mates to show unity and focus for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.

Allardyce left his post by mutual agreement last week after comments he made during a newspaper sting – part of a wider investigation into alleged corruption in English football by the Daily Telegraph.

England Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate will step into the breach for the Three Lions' remaining four matches this year, and Rooney praised the enthusiasm Allardyce brought to the post he held for a mere 67 days.

"I think it's a shame," the Manchester United forward told a news conference.

"We could see how excited Sam was for the job. He came in and showed that enthusiasm to the players.

"It's a shame it's happened and I'm sure he regrets it but that was a decision for the FA to take and we have to concentrate now on the game.

"Not just myself, as a group of players we need to stick together and concentrate on the football. For the FA, I'm sure it's been a tough couple of weeks but for the players we've been concentrating on club football.

"We have to focus on the games and the training sessions. It's a new manager in Gareth. It's a big opportunity for him.

"As a team we need to keep working together and not get involved too much in other issues."

Like Rooney, Chelsea centre-back Gary Cahill featured in the opening 1-0 win over Slovakia under Allardyce in Group F and he echoed his captain's sombre tone.

"It's disappointing and I can only comment on my dealings with the ex-manager," he said.

"For me, the week that I worked under him I enjoyed it. We got a good result.

"My personal dealings with him were fine and great. Of course it’s a disappointing to lose a manager but we have to move on and prepare for the games that are coming up in the best frame of mind."

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