Wayne Rooney has ‘lots of offers’ as decision made on future
Manchester United forward’s international career looks to be at an end
Wayne Rooney after the Europa League final victory at the Friends Arena in Solna outside Stockholm. Photograph: Getty Images
Jack Butland is to return to the England fold after a 14-month absence when Gareth Southgate announces his squad on Thursday for the World Cup qualifier away to Scotland and the friendly against France in Paris.
The Stoke City goalkeeper earned his fourth and most recent cap in the friendly win against Germany in Berlin in March 2016 but was substituted at half-time after fracturing his right ankle. His rehabilitation has proved a protracted process and he did not feature for his club again until late April but started Stoke’s final five games of the season.
The 24-year-old, who worked regularly with Southgate in the under-21s, was among those players invited to St George’s Park in March while the squad were preparing for games against Germany and Lithuania as the manager sought to impress on his staff his vision for the future. Butland will compete with Fraser Forster and Joe Hart for the games in Glasgow and Paris.
Wayne Rooney, relatively underused by Manchester United this season, is not expected to be included, an omission that could effectively signal the end of an international career that has spanned almost 14 years and brought 53 goals and 119 caps. He has not featured for Southgate’s side since the win over Scotland at Wembley in November, with his club form hardly meriting involvement.
As if signalling a changing of the guard, Rooney’s club-mate Marcus Rashford is likely to be included in the senior ranks rather than dropping back into Aidy Boothroyd’s under-21s for the summer’s European Championship in Poland. Southgate is understood to have spoken with José Mourinho to discuss the pair’s situation.
He is expected to announce his squad at midday once he has received reports from those involved in the Europa League final in Stockholm, with a number of other players likely to be omitted because of injury or fitness concerns. The Liverpool full-back Nathaniel Clyne is to miss out with a back problem and his club-mate Daniel Sturridge will also be omitted despite scoring in a post-season victory over Sydney FC on Wednesday.
Sturridge has required injections to manage a hip injury over recent weeks and will have more treatment on the problem. Liverpool have spoken at length with the Football Association and its medical department, with Southgate aware of the situation. Harry Kane, absent with ankle trouble in March, will return, with Jermain Defoe, who is close to leaving Sunderland for Bournemouth, left sweating over his own inclusion.
The Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs could earn a recall for the injured Danny Rose and Luke Shaw, with Ryan Bertrand the only regular left-back available to Southgate. Danny Welbeck is struggling with a toe problem but is set to be named in the squad and will have his fitness assessed, most likely after Saturday’s FA Cup final.
The England squad will meet at St George’s Park on Friday of next week before travelling to Scotland six days later for the qualifier at Hampden Park. They will then depart for Paris before the game at Stade de France on Tuesday June 13th.