Wayne Rooney appears to have a new lease of life at Everton, potting his second goal in two Premier League games yesterday. With England manager Gareth Southgate having watched two of the Toffees last two competitive games and about to announce his first international squad of this season, the chatter about a return to the Three Lions is growing.
There was plenty of talk in the offseason that a big deciding factor for Rooney making the move back to the Toffees was getting more playing time to make one last push to be in the squad for this coming summer’s World Cup 2018 tournament.
The veteran’s play so far, capped off by his 200th Premier League goal on Monday, has shown that should Southgate choose to bring him to Russia, he could be rewarded with Rooney’s mature and collected performances steering the young Blues in the right direction and likely to replicate that form at the international level.
Teammates Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane, both defenders who have appeared for England, are convinced that Rooney deserves another call-up. Club captain Jagielka feels Rooney has unfinished business with England (from the Telegraph) -
“With the season Wayne had last season - with him not being given the chance to play as much as he would have liked - he is concentrating on his football at Everton and if England comes knocking he has more goals to go for.
“He is England’s top goal scorer. I have been lucky enough to play with Wayne a number of times and he looks as good as ever now, as hungry as ever and hopefully that is a good sign for us.
“I am sure he will be happy. If not, we would be delighted he gets a rest and is ready to go for us.
“His team mates never doubt him, so I am not sure why people would doubt him. He has proven when he is given a chance to play a number of games, he normally scores a number of goals, so his record for his country and his teams has been second to none and so far for us, in pre-season and in the league and in our brief European stint, he has been one of our best players and hopefully that will continue.
“I think he ran the most (against City), he has been putting it in, he has been pretty much our best player thoughout pre-season, so he looks fit and sharp, scores goals, so there is not much more that we will be looking for him to do.”
New signing Keane, who has two full internationals behind him, has been impressed by Rooney’s workrate (from the Mail) -
“You see it more so than ever. He wants to do really well for this club. He wants to help us win something. Until that happens he won't be resting.
“He has been fantastic since day one. He is a leader in the dressing room, he has worked really hard on his fitness and it is showing in the games.
“Obviously (it's) two goals in two games now and hopefully it will be a lot more. He has shown his quality as well as his leadership skills.
“Personally I think he deserves it (England call up) the way he has been playing but that is up to the manager. There are a lot of good strikers who have been scoring goals so it is his decision.”
Meanwhile, not all voices are in support of the striker playing for England again. Former great Sir Geoff Hurst feels Rooney has lost his competitive edge and doesn’t deserve a call up (from the Mail) -
“He [Southgate] has made some bold decisions and I think the bold one he can make is, for me, to say it's the end of Wayne Rooney's international career.
“He has been an absolutely fantastic player. At club level he wasn't playing regularly for Manchester United last season, which is an indication - and if you are not playing regularly at club level you certainly should not represent England in my opinion.
“I wouldn't necessary call it a bold decision to not play Wayne Rooney any more, but if I were in charge of the national team I would call Wayne up and say, ‘Thanks very much’.
“He has been a fantastic player, one of the greatest players in this country but old Father Time, and I have been there as a striker, comes where you lose a bit of sharpness and I think his time playing for England is over.”
For Everton’s management and fans though, it is likely they would rather see Rooney not involved in the international set-up again so that he can get as much rest as possible in what is promising to be a gruelling season for the Blues.
Do you want to see Wayne Rooney play for England again?
This poll is closed
Yes - just so he can play at the World Cup again
No - want him fit and rested for Everton this season