Gareth Southgate refuses to rule Wayne Rooney out of World Cup contention

Still could feature

Wayne Rooney shocked the football world when he decided to announce his retirement from the England side, and it seems that England manager Gareth Southgate feels the same way.

Despite dropping Rooney earlier in the year, the player’s form dictated he needed to be recalled and that’s something the manager made very clear.

He also claimed that players do change their minds, and he won’t be ruling anything out for Rooney in the future -and said he spent half an hour trying to get Rooney to change his mind about retiring.

The Express report he said: “Have I seen players change their minds? I think we all have.

“Do I see the value of a senior player and what he may add in terms of experience and developing some of the other players? Definitely.

“Part of that question should go to Wayne – you’ve got to respect his decision and the thinking behind that.

“But it is a good question. We have to see where he was at, where the squad was at, where everything else was at. It would be foolish to say no, because anything is possible.

“That’s why I made the call to him this week because there’s a recognition that my decisions in March and June were based on the way he was playing and the form he was in then. That’s been different this season.”

“Wayne’s been somebody it may have been easy to hide behind for people.

“He’s the one who has carried that burden. That’s been unfair on him. Now everybody has the chance to take the mantle.

Focusing on Everton

One thing Rooney does look set to do is focus on Everton, with his return to Merseyside giving him a new lease of life.

Rooney’s form has been brilliant since returning to the club, and he managed to notch up his 200th Premier League goal against Manchester City to boot, something the player will have loved.

Not only that, but with Everton’s spending this transfer window, there is a real belief around the club they could go on and do something special this season.