Gareth Southgate insists that Wayne Rooney’s international career is not necessarily over despite again leaving him out of the England squad.
The former captain was left out in March for games against Germany and Lithuania and has again been omitted for friendlies against Scotland and France after seeing his role at Manchester United diminish since Jose Mourinho’s arrival.
But Southgate suggested there is a way back for the 31-year-old, provided he features more regularly for his club – with an Old Trafford exit appearing likely this summer.
“It doesn’t have to be,” Southgate said, when asked if Rooney’s international career was at an end. “From Wayne’s point of view he hasn’t played very much this season.
“Wayne’s got some decisions to make this summer, but the hope is that he’s back. A player of his quality there is no way we would dismiss him.
“You want your players playing in the biggest possible games.
“I’ve no idea what the future is for Wayne at Manchester United so it’s impossible for me to comment if he’s part of the plans or not.
“I’ve spoken to him in the past but not this time – I think there’s only so many times you can speak about the situation.
“I’m conscious from his point of view that it’s always a big story when you don’t select him.”
Southgate also revealed that he has not settled on a captain for either of the upcoming fixtures.
“There are a lot of potential leaders emerging from this group and that’s good because there’s always been a focus on one person and an over-reliance on one person,” he added.
“We’re in a position where we can go a number of different ways with that.”