The England manager said that he 'has some decisions to make' over the summer
England manager Gareth Southgate has refused to close the book on Wayne Rooney's international career, but says the Manchester United forward has some big decisions to make over the summer that could decide his future in a white shirt.
Rooney is England's record goalscorer but has been left out of the last two international squads and asked whether or not this is the end of the line for the 31-year-old, Southgate's message was simple.
"It doesn't have to be," he said. "From Wanye's point of view, he hasn't played very much this season. Other people have come into the squad and done really well.
"There are players in very good form. As far as I'm concerned, Wayne's got some decisions to make across the summer regarding next season.
"The hope is that he gets back playing really well and that a player of his quality, there's no way we'd dismiss him in the future."
Southgate has previously pointed out that Rooney will need to be playing regularly to get back into the squad, something which has been difficult under Jose Mourinho this season.
"You want your players playing in the biggest possible games. I have no idea what the future will be for Wayne with Manchester United, so it's difficult for me to comment on whether he will be part of the plans there or not.
"We hope he's back playing regularly and back playing well. He's one of those fantastic players to have in your squad."
Asked whether he felt Rooney's role is now more as a back-up or as a substitute, Southgate said: "I think he can play a number of different positions. We've got competition for places, I can't really hide that. We want that.
"We have some exciting young players coming through. So in every position, there's competition."
England manager Gareth Southgate during a press conference at St George's Park on Tuesday. Image: Tim Goode/PA Wire/PA Images