By 90Min
December 11, 2017

Wayne Rooney scored his 9th goal for Everton in Sunday's Merseyside derby draw, bringing his total Premier League tally to an impressive 206 goals. 

The striker, and at times midfielder, has scored more in this season's 12 appearances for Everton, than he did so in last season's 25 appearances for Manchester United - the Liverpudlian is the second all-time Premier league top scorer behind Alan Shearer. 

Rooney's recent resurgence with his boyhood club Everton has reopened the debate as to whether the 32-year-old should be included in Gareth Southgate's squad for next summer's World Cup in Russia. 

Having missed out on Southgate's two previous squads, Rooney, England's record goalscorer, announced his retirement from international duty back in September. 

However, in an interview, as quoted by GOAL, the striker revealed that a return to international duty is still possible and, should he be given the opportunity, Rooney would be willing to accept Southgate's recall. 

"As you well know, I love playing for England," Rooney stated. "Gareth had to make a decision — as Jose Mourinho did — but I spoke to him. I wasn't playing the football that I like and I don't think you should play for your country if you are not playing for your club.

"So I understood his decision fully. He told me that if I get back playing every week then the door is still open to return to the squad. 

"It would be great if I could do that. If I do well here, I'm sure he will have a decision to make," Rooney added.

A 17-year-old Rooney made his England debut in a defeat by Australia back in 2003, and since then has gone on to score 53 goals for England in 119 appearances - an impressive accolade. Look a little closer however, and Rooney's goalscoring record might not seem as remarkable as first appears. 

37 of Rooney's 53 England goals were in competitive games, and only seven of his goals have come at the final stages of an international tournament, four of which were scored at Euro 2004. Rooney has undoubtedly struggled to perform when it really matters for England, as have most England internationals. 

The question as to who the 32-year-old would replace in the squad would, no doubt, require a controversial answer. 22-year-old Harry Kane, is once again in fine form with a total of 20 goals for Tottenham. 20-year-old Marcus Rashford has 11 goals for Manchester United, and 23-year-old Raheem Sterling has excelled in a forward-role for Manchester City, scoring 14 goals so far. 


Southgate could, like Roy Hodgson did at the Euro 2016, give Rooney a deep-lying midfield role. However, Rooney hardly excelled in the position at the Euro 2016, and England have a number of more youthful options for the middle of the park. 

Nevertheless, the case can be made that Rooney's inclusion in next summer's squad will add vital experience. Southgate has been promoting the inclusion of youth in recent England squads, and a look at the overall teams used in friendly games against both Brazil and Germany highlights a lack of international-experienced players.


However, whether a lack of experience will be seen as a worry to England fans is doubtful. Experience has been of no benefit to England in previous tournaments and, in truth, Rooney has only experienced failure in major tournaments with the Three Lions. 'Experienced' has taken on new connotations of fearful and forgetful for many England fans. We need a new, more hungry approach - one where fearful experience doesn't get in the way of fearless youth. 

One thing that remains for certain however, is that Rooney will rightfully go down as one of England's greats, even if he doesn't make it to next summer's World Cup. 

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