Gareth Southgate insists the door is not closed on Wayne Rooney’s international career despite the striker missing the last England squad.
Captain Rooney was omitted for June’s matches against Scotland and France, with the forward’s lack of playing time at Manchester United cited as the main reason.
However, England’s all-time leading goalscorer has returned to Everton during the close-season and Southgate says that could put the 31-year-old in contention for a recall.
“The great thing for Rooney is that he will probably be playing more regular football and so it’s as simple as that,” Southgate told the London Evening Standard.
“In the league we only have 70 English players, and so we certainly aren’t ruling anybody out.”
Rooney completed a free transfer back to Goodison Park this month and netted in his first friendly outing for the Toffees with a long-range effort.
Toffees boss Ronald Koeman has been impressed with Rooney since adding him to his squad, and has backed him to re-establish himself in Southgate’s plans ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
“First of all, if you play really good football and produce great performances for your club it is possible that he will come back to the national team,” said the Dutchman.
“But it always starts with the club, his performances for the club and then it’s reasonable that he will go back to the national team. There is the quality of the player, the confidence I see in his football.
“And what I really like is his ambition in training, he shows the young lads in the team his experience and explains things, decisions about football, about positions. He’s a big player in English football and all the players know all about Wayne Rooney.
“He’s an example about winning titles, about the qualities he shows on the pitch and he can be a teacher for the young players off the pitch.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!