Gareth Southgate admits England captain Wayne Rooney's lack of playing time at Manchester United has contributed to his omission from a squad featuring several shock inclusions.
Southgate revealed that Rooney could return from a short-term knee lay-off at the weekend, though England's record scorer was absent from the 26-man group the Three Lions boss has named to face Germany and Lithuania the following week.
Jermain Defoe, Jake Livermore and Luke Shaw were all included, as were four uncapped players, and Southgate conceded Rooney's exclusion can in part be attributed to his limited opportunities under Jose Mourinho.
The 31-year-old has started four games in 2017 and only last month he released a statement stating he would be remaining at Old Trafford despite interest from the Chinese Super League.
But Southgate feels the United man hasn't had enough time on the pitch of late to warrant inclusion, while also clarifying the decision to call up veteran striker Defoe.
I've talked with Wayne and I think there's a chance he's fit for the weekend.
But also, the injury, coupled with the fact he's really not had a lot of game time recently, and others have in that area of the pitch, has sort of determined my decision on that one.
It was important not to look at [Defoe's] age and dismiss them from your thinking.
His goalscoring record generally is phenomenal, but in particular this season in a team that perhaps aren't creating as many chances as other teams. His strike-rate is outstanding.
I didn't want to look at his age and think he's finished with England.
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Terry Butcher has added his voice to growing calls for Gareth Southgate to be handed the England job on a full-time basis in the wake of Friday's 3-0 win over Scotland at Wembley.
Butcher insists there is no need for FA chiefs to wait until after Tuesday night's friendly against Spain to appoint Southgate, who has held the job on a caretaker basis since the departure of Sam Allardyce in September.
Southgate has consistently expressed his desire to take on the role full-time and indicated he expects the process to begin after the game against Spain.
Despite obvious areas in need of improvement in the three games under his command, the former England Under-21 boss appears to have won over the players and the FA hierarchy. Butcher now believes the appointment should be made sooner rather than later to avoid the risk of missing out on Southgate.
I think he's the right man - he's a personable guy and he wants to learn and adapt. I think there's a lot of going into the classroom for Gareth with England, he'll learn in the job and I think he'll learn well - he's got the capacity and the brain power.
He'll certainly develop his own coaching prowess at international level - give him the job and give him it now.
It may be (if the FA wait for Arsene Wenger to decide his future) that Gareth walks away and says, you've had your chance, it's gone.
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