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Scholes backs Rooney to fight for England place

Wayne Rooney has lost his place in United's XI and in the England squad as a result Credit: PA

Former England midfielder Paul Scholes believes Wayne Rooney still has a role to play for the Three Lions.

The ex-Manchester United star claims his old club and country team-mate Rooney is far from finished on the international stage.

Captain Rooney was left out of Gareth Southgate's squad for Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to Germany and Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

He has been battling a knee injury while Southgate also had doubts over his lack of game time.

Rooney has made only nine Premier League starts for Manchester United this season and scored just five club goals with his future at Old Trafford in doubt.

But Southgate has said record England scorer Rooney, who has 119 caps, remains in his thoughts and Scholes feels Rooney should remain part of the Three Lions set-up.

Wayne has been a sensational footballer for England and Manchester United for nearly 15 years. He is greatly respected and I still think he has a part to play with United and England.

He has great experience, he can pass knowledge on to young players and it's up to Gareth if and when he wants to use it.

I don't want to talk about him going to another English club, I hope he gets himself back into the United team. He has a fight on his hands but the Wayne Rooney I know is someone who will face that challenge and try to do it.

He still has a prominent role to play for England and United. There's been a lot of speculation over where he goes now but Wayne, with what he's done, has earned the right to do what he wants to do. I hope he does stay and fight.

– Paul Scholes

Southgate: Lack of games cost Rooney England place

Wayne Rooney has been omitted from the England squad Credit: PA

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.

– Gareth Southgate


Rooney and Shaw to miss Man Utd's clash in Russia

Rooney will miss the Europa League clash. Credit: PA

Wayne Rooney and Luke Shaw have been left out of Manchester United's 20-man travelling squad for Thursday's Europa League clash with FC Rostov, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan does feature in the group.

Rooney and Shaw both came into United's starting XI for the 1-1 Premier League draw with Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Saturday, with each being substituted in the 70th minute.

Mkhitaryan missed that game and the EFL Cup final win against Southampton the previous weekend due to a hamstring problem, but could now make his comeback in Thursday's last-16 first leg.

Eric Bailly is another man not travelling for the match as he is suspended following his sending off in the second leg of the last-32 triumph over St Etienne.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is also absent from the party heading to Russia, with United saying that is "presumably with the minor injury that the boss (Jose Mourinho) revealed last Friday".

United's travelling squad: De Gea, Romero, O'Hara, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Smalling, Blind, Darmian, Young, Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini, Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Martial, Rashford, Ibrahimovic.

Koeman wants Man United captain to rejoin Everton

Koeman is keen to sign Wayne Rooney in the summer. Credit: PA

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has opened the door for Wayne Rooney to return to Goodison Park.

Manchester United's record goalscorer has been linked with a move back to his boyhood club, having struggled to hold down a regular place under Jose Mourinho.

Rooney's agent was in China this month, seemingly to sound out interest in his client, but the 31-year-old player last week issued a statement insisting he was staying at Old Trafford.

However, his long-term future remains in doubt, and Koeman is ready to make a move in the summer to bring Rooney back to where it all began.

The Dutchman told Sky Sports:

I believe that Wayne Rooney is still playing at a high level. I think he made a good choice to stay at Manchester United and in the Premier League because he has still two or three years in front of him to play on a high level.

What will happen at the end of the season? I don't know but in my opinion he is one of the players who can make Everton more stronger.

It's all about what the player likes, what Manchester United needs to do, and we are not involved in that project. But every player that we at Everton think can make the team stronger is welcome to Everton.

– Everton manager Ronald Koeman
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