Too little, too late: Southgate should continue to omit Rooney

Apologies if that title gave you a horrific flashback to JoJo’s god awful song in 2006, but it could not ring more truths about Wayne Rooney’s recent run of form and the Everton striker’s international career; it’s over, and the captain’s armband should be passed on immediately.

Rooney has been hammered in the media for the best part of three years; forever questioned on his age, and forever the debating point in team selection – be it at club or international level.

Such criticism, a lot of the time, was justified – England’s all-time leading goalscorer has been off the pace the last few years. The former United skipper’s 25 goals in the last three Premier League seasons were equalled by current United striker, Romelu Lukaku, in just one season (the Belgian’s final one for Everton).

However, Rooney looks like something back to his old self. Two goals in two games for the Toffees has led people to think the ‘hungry’ Wazza Roo is back; that hunger, and love for playing the game that was always associated with Rooney during his peak years is once more in his eyes.

It probably is. Rooney does look happier, he’s back playing, back amongst the goals; back at his ‘boyhood’ club. But, such short form should not reward an England recall. It would be England looking backwards and not forwards. It would be a reminder of the gloom for English fans – not that they need encouraging – of the failed international tournaments that Rooney was meant to be the ‘main man’.

If Geoff Hurst is fed up, we should all be fed up:

“I wouldn’t necessary call it a bold decision to not play Wayne Rooney anymore, but if I were in charge of the national team I would call Wayne up and say, ‘thanks very much’.” — Geoff Hurst

Geoff Hurst with the most polite way of showing the England captain the door.

Continuing the Rooney debate would continue in an era every English fan wants to forget. Yes, the striker is playing well, and looking more clinical than the likes of Marcus Rashford and Daniel Sturridge at the start of this season. But, two good games is too little, too late for the skipper.

Let’s just now let Rooney enjoy his remaining years back at his boyhood club, and not continue to cling on something that just was never meant to be – Wayne Rooney winning England an international tournament.