The 28-year-old has 95 caps and has also just been appointed skipper of Manchester United.
Manager Roy Hodgson made the announcement at a media conference at Wembley as he unveiled his squad for a friendly against Norway on September 3 and their opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland on September 8.
"I gave it a lot of thought but Wayne is an obvious choice," Hodgson told reporters.
"He deserves it - his commitment to the cause, his experience. He has captained England in the past and, of course, he has that responsibility at Manchester United now.
"I've had a long conversation with him and he's prepared to accept the pressures that the England captaincy brings. It's important that the player wants to take on that enormous responsibility."
Rooney said: "To be named as the England captain is a dream come true for me personally and of course for my family. It is something I will take massive pride in doing.
"As a kid I always loved the occasion of watching a big England game on the television. Back then I had a burning ambition to play for my country. Now to be appointed captain is beyond my wildest dreams.
"I would like to thank Roy and the coaching staff for having the belief and confidence in me to do the job.”
Here are five facts about the 28-year-old's international career:
1) Rooney has made 95 appearances for England, scoring 40 goals and placing him joint-fourth with Michael Owen on the country's all-time goalscorers list, nine behind Bobby Charlton's record.
2) He made his debut as a 17-year-old as England's then-youngest ever player in 2003, coming on as a substitute against Australia.
3) Rooney scored his first senior international goal against Macedonia in the same year to become the country's youngest ever scorer.
4) He scored his first ever World Cup goal this year in Brazil, despite featuring in the 2006 and 2010 tournaments, in the 2-1 defeat to Uruguay before England bowed out without a win in the group stage.
5) The striker has captained England twice before and takes the armband permanently from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who retired from international football in July.
Meanwhile, Hodgson named four uncapped players in his squad for the two matches.
Midfielders: Jack Colback (Newcastle United), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Roy Hodgson
- Wayne Rooney
- Steven Gerrard