Wayne Rooney, the captain of England and Manchester United, was dropped from the Three Lions’ squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifier at Scotland and the friendly in France.
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We learned that last week, but England boss Gareth Southgate revealed on Tuesday that he didn’t call Rooney to discuss the reasons why his skipper and the all-time leading goalscorer was left out of the squad.
Asked if he had spoken to Rooney to tell him about being left out of a second-straight England squad following a season mostly spent on the bench at Manchester United, Southgate revealed there had been no talks.
“Not this time,” Southgate said. “In the end, there is only so many times you can speak about the situation. We’ve been very clear. I am very conscience from his point of view that it is a big story when you don’t select him. I want to do that in the right way. Equally, when we have had previous conversations, there’s no point in revisiting those at this stage.”
So, Rooney found out like the rest of us last week when the squad was announced. England’s all-time leading goalscorer (53 goals) and appearance holder for an outfield player (119 caps) didn’t warrant a heads up. There’s something not quite right about that.
Southgate added that Rooney’s international career “doesn’t have to be” over and that “there’s no way we would dismiss him” from future England rosters but Rooney not playing regularly for United (just 15 starts in the PL this season) has been a huge reason why he’s no longer part of England’s plans.
For now, Rooney is on the outside looking in and until he can play regularly it will remain that way.
“From Wayne’s point of view he’s not played very much this season. Other people have come into the squad and done very well, in very good form,” Southgate said. “As far as I’m concerned it would appear Wayne has got some decisions to make across the summer regarding next season… I have no idea what the future is for Wayne at Manchester United, so it is very difficult for me to comment if he’s part of the plans there or not. We hope he is back playing regularly and playing well and he is a fantastic player to have in your squad.”
England have yet to name a captain for the upcoming squad with the likes of Joe Hart, Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling perhaps the leading contenders for the role, but there’s no doubt the biggest story regarding the Three Lions right now is Rooney’s future, and if he has one with the national team.
There may be no way back for Rooney who had previously stated his intention to retire from the international game following the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer.
England have given him a pass for much of the last 12 months but now they can’t justify having him in the squad as a passenger.