Gareth Southgate opens door for Wayne Rooney return


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England manager Gareth Southgate believes Wayne Rooney’s international chances have been boosted by his recent return to Everton.

The 31-year-old is the Three Lions’ record goalscorer, but he has been overlooked for their recent matches, including the World Cup qualifier against Scotland and friendly with France.

Rooney’s lack of game time with Manchester United last season was one of the main reasons he was omitted by Southgate, but the England boss believes the forward’s summer move to Everton will boost his chances of returning to the international set up.

“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, who won the last of his 119 international caps against Scotland in November, has made an impressive start to his second-spell with Everton, scoring in their pre-season victories over Gor Mahia and Genk.

The experienced forward will now be hoping to continue that form during the opening weeks of the new Premier League season, particularly as England face two internationals at the start of September against Malta and Slovakia.

Everton will kick-off the new domestic season with a home match against Stoke on August 12 and they are priced at 1.73 to secure all three points from that contest, while the Potters are available at 4.75 and the draw is on offer at 3.75.

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