Slovenia manager Srecko Katanec would not be surprised if Wayne Rooney is dropped by England as "he is not the youngest any more and his form has taken a little dip".
Rooney's place in the side has been under scrutiny since England's abject departure from Euro 2016 and interim manager Gareth Southgate is reportedly set to leave his captain out in Ljubljana on Tuesday night.
It would be a big statement for Southgate to make in only his second game in charge but his opposite number is prepared for such an outcome.
“I would not be surprised if he was dropped,” Katanec said.
“Wayne Rooney is a leader of this team, he has the experience a captain needs and it is quite hard to substitute him or leave him out.
“But it is also true that he is not the youngest any more and maybe his form has taken a little dip.”
Despite that, the former Sampdoria player did suggest that leaving Rooney on the sidelines could be beneficial to the hosts.
“Because of his experience and quality I would rather he would not start than he does start,” he added.
Slovenia, who lost twice to England in Euro 2016 qualifying, go into the game on the back of a morale-boosting 1-0 victory over Slovakia.
But Katanec wants his men to approach the game in measured fashion.
“I warned the guys against too much euphoria are the Slovakia result,” he continued. “You cannot compare the two teams; England has a lot more quality in every way. The team functions very well and we expect a tough match in every aspect.
“England have very quick players and very fast in transition from defence to attack. But we don’t need to be afraid of the game or afraid to lose. The guys are unburdened.”