Gareth Southgate: Wayne Rooney still has an England future


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England manager Gareth Southgate insists England captain Wayne Rooney is still part of his plans despite recent media reports.

The 31-year-old has endured a frustrating season for both club and country after losing his first-team spot at Manchester United.

Rooney has still made 18 appearances in the Premier League for the Red Devils but he has only scored two goals so far.

Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic has led the line for the majority of the season but Rooney has showed his class off the bench on occasions.

Reports in February linked him with a move to China but the former Everton man remains at Old Trafford for the time being.

Injury issues have ruled him out of the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania on Sunday but Southgate insists he remains part of the setup.

Southgate told reporters: “He’s absolutely [in my thinking]. I didn’t quite understand why we were talking about tributes when he has still got every chance of being in this team.

“I’m conscious that we’ll be talking about Wayne again and I’m hoping to be talking about the players who are here, but there’s no reason why he is finished with us.”

Southgate’s side are the heavy favourites to beat Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday night but they will need to look elsewhere for goals with Rooney injured.

Jamie Vardy is expected to start, while Jermain Defoe will be hoping to play his part and the Sunderland man can be backed at odds of 3.75 to score the last goal.

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