Sam Allardyce has hinted that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho could hold the key to Wayne Rooney’s future with England.
Rooney has captained his country for the past two years, is the record scorer with 53 goals and most experienced campaigner with 115 caps.
He has vowed to continue his Three Lions career under Allardyce, who was officially presented as Roy Hodgson’s successor at St George’s Park on Monday, but serious question marks now exist over his status.
Allardyce declared it was too soon to rubberstamp his captaincy and indicated Mourinho’s use of the 30-year-old would be crucial in the early weeks of the new season.
Rooney has spent the majority of 2016 as a playmaking midfielder, for both club and country, but Mourinho has already indicated that experiment will not continue on his watch.
Discussing Rooney’s future role, Allardyce said: “It’s a decision that I’ll make once I’ve got my feet under the table.
“It’s far too early to make any predictions.
“I still think Wayne Rooney still has a massive place to play in the England side. I don’t think there is any doubt about that.”
When questioned in further detail about how Rooney’s role for Manchester United will affect his England future – Mourinho has already hinted he strongly sees the player as a striker, and not a midfielder – Allardyce added: “I think Jose will determine (where), because if Jose says he is not going to play him in centre midfield and he is playing up front and scoring goals for Manchester United then it would be pointless me bringing him into England and playing him in centre midfield.”
Asked if Rooney could be a first-choice for England if he is forced to play second fiddle to the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial at Old Trafford, Allardyce added: “I don’t know until that happens with anybody, let alone Wayne Rooney.
“Like everything else, you wait until the season starts. I hope there are standout players all over the place when the Premier League starts.
“I hope it’s a hugely difficult task for me to pick my first squad because everybody is on really good form and playing exceptionally well. I do think form at a football club has a place when you are making your selection.”
Allardyce is held in particularly high esteem by the League Managers’ Association, a matter that might help when he begins rounding up his squad in the coming weeks.
As a coach with more than two decades of domestic football under his belt, the 61-year-old knows the frustrations that some bosses feel about releasing their prized assets, but still expects some conflict of interests.
He has enjoyed frosty relations with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger over the years, but with Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to monitor, among others, he may need to press for a detente with the Frenchman.
“I would like to get round everybody and make some contact and hear their thoughts,” he said.
“We’ve got to try and help each other if we possibly can. It won’t always be the case, the demands on Premier League managers and demand on me as England manager is bound to cause some conflict down the line because the pressures are far greater than ever before.
“So they are bound to want to protect their players and that is what I have to try and overcome with a little bit of give and take, hopefully.”