Former England skipper Steven Gerrard says he can still see Wayne Rooney making the Three Lions’ World Cup squad next year.
Rooney, who has 119 caps, has been omitted from the squad to face Scotland in a World Cup qualifier tonight and next Tuesday’s friendly with France and he hasn’t played for England since the 3-0 win over Scotland in November 2016.
New England coach dropped Rooney to the bench for the World Cup qualifier against Slovenia in October, before restoring to the side that defeated the Scots at Wembley.
The former England skipper was previously booed by sections of the Wembley crowd during the 2-0 win over Malta in October and the writing has been on the wall ever since.
With just 15 Premier League starts for Man Utd this season Rooney was axed for the friendly away to Germany and home World Cup qualifier against Lithuania in March and he’s not had a look in since.
Southgate sees Rooney as a No. 10 and believes Dele Alli and Adam Lallana are ahead of Rooney in the pecking order; the England boss also said he wanted “others to step forward”.
Gerrard though believes 31-year-old Rooney’s experience is invaluable and thinks he could be in Russia for next summer’s showpiece – as long as Southgate’s men qualify.
“People are very quick to jump on getting older lads out of the England squad, but when it comes to tournaments it’s important you have a good blend of youth and experience,” said Gerrard.
“Wayne brings that [experience] and he has scored a heavy amount of goals at international level and that’s very difficult to replace.
“Of course it’s been a difficult season for him but he’s more than capable of getting a good pre-season under his belt and coming back very strong and forcing his way back in – I have no doubt about that.”