Slovenia manager Srecko Katanec has said England's dropping of Wayne Rooney to the bench is not surprising because "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 confirmed he will begin the game on the bench for the World Cup qualifier in Ljubljana on Tuesday.
"I would not be surprised if he was dropped," Katanec said before Southgate confirmed the news later on Monday.
"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."
However, Katanec added: "Because of his experience and quality I would rather he would not start than he does start."
Slovenia, who lost twice to England in Euro 2016 qualifying, go into the game on the back of a a 1-0 victory over Slovakia.
But Katanec said he had warned his players against "too much euphoria," adding: "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."