Southgate not closing Rooney door

25 August 2017 08:02:59 EST

England head coach Gareth Southgate believes Wayne Rooney could feature again for the Three Lions despite announcing his retirement this week.

The Everton forward revealed on Wednesday that he no longer be available for selection for England, calling it quits despite being told he would feature in Southgate's next squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia.

The 31-year-old bows out as England's record goalscorer with 53 goals in 119 appearances, but Southgate believes it is too early to rule out Rooney adding to his tally.

The Three Lions boss says it is not out of question that he selects Rooney for next summer's World Cup in Russia.

He said: "I suppose that we'd have to see where he was at, where the squad was at, where everything else was at. It would be foolish to say 'no' because anything is possible.

"Really part of that question should go to Wayne, but I think you've also got to respect his decision and the thinking behind that. But have I seen players change their minds? Well yes, I think we all have."

Southgate's comments on Rooney come despite claiming it was "time to look to the future" when announcing his squad for England's next two matches.

England begin life without Rooney against Malta a week on Friday before taking Slovakia a few days later.

The Three Lions currently top Group F and are 1/50 to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, while they are 40/1 to win the whole competition in Russia next summer.

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