England captain Wayne Rooney thinks it was a "shame" Sam Allardyce lost his dream job so abruptly – but warned his teammates to remain focused on their World Cup qualifying campaign. The 30-year-old forward has been retained as the captain by interim boss Gareth Southgate and is determined not to be distracted from their overarching ambition.

Allardyce, 61, lost his job after just one game and 67 days in charge of the Three Lions following a newspaper sting. Rooney conceded he was saddened to see Allardyce leave the role in light of the controversy.

"It is a shame. I think everyone could see how excited Sam was for the job," the Manchester United star explained, according to the BBC. "He showed that to the players, it is a shame. I am sure he deeply regrets it but that was a decision for the FA to take."

England are set to face Malta on 8 October and Slovenia three days later, having won their opening World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in September. But Rooney has warned his teammates to keep their eyes on the task at hand, rather than allowing themselves to be distracted by the controversy.

Asked if the England team need to start again under Southgate, Rooney said: "Of course we have to come here and be prepared to do the job. I am not sure if it is starting again, we need to build on the three points in the last game.

"We have to concentrate on football. I am sure there will be no problem doing that and the other side is not our issue. It is not for us to be concerned about it we just have to play the game."

Rooney also claimed that England's back-to-back qualifying games will provide Southgate with the opportunity to prove his credentials to become the full-time manager. "It is an opportunity to show what he can do at senior level. He has worked with a lot of the players at Under-21 level, which will be good for them," the United star shared.

"He will bring his own way of working so it will be good to see how that is in the next week. We have to buy into his ways and take his ideas on board and put them on the pitch."