England squad: Rooney out as Southgate picks 13 defenders
Striker's international career appears over as he is overlooked for games against Scotland and France
Wayne Rooney has, as predicted earlier this week, been left out of England manager Gareth Southgate's squad for games against Scotland and France next month.
Other notable absentees include Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge and Everton playmaker Ross Barkley, both of whom, unlike Rooney, are understood to be carrying injuries.
Rooney's omission is "the surest sign yet that the curtain has come down on an international career that has lasted more than 14 years and has seen Rooney become the nation’s most capped outfield player of all time, as well as the all-time highest goalscorer with 53", says the Daily Telegraph.
His last international appearance came in November and it is "hard to see a way back", given that he has been "shunted down the pecking order" at Old Trafford, says The Guardian.
"Rooney made a brief cameo in Manchester United’s Europa League final win over Ajax in Stockholm on Wednesday night, but was brought back down to earth with the news he has not been included in a 25-man party," adds the paper. "The door is not closed on an international return… but Southgate has placed him firmly behind Marcus Rashford, Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy in the pecking order."
Southgate's curiously unbalanced 25-man squad includes four goalkeepers, ten defenders and three midfielders who have played at the back this season.
Five players come from Spurs and four from Manchester United.
With Rooney absent, the captaincy is likely to be handed to either Harry Kane or Gary Cahill.
Jack Butland (Stoke), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Torino, on loan from Man City), Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), Phil Jones (Man Utd), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
Dele Alli (Tottenham), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Man Utd), Jake Livermore (West Brom), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Man City)
Jermain Defoe (Sunderland), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Will Wayne Rooney's England career finish this week?
It seems Wayne Rooney's days as an England player are as doubtful as his future at Manchester United, with national coach Gareth Southgate preparing to apply the coup de grace to the player's international career.
According to Matt Hughes of The Times, there will be no room for the 32-year-old forward in next month's games against Scotland and France. Southgate is due to name his team on Thursday.
The news is "another blow for the Manchester United striker as he prepares to watch tomorrow's Europa League final against Ajax from the substitutes' bench", adds the journalist.
On paper, Rooney remains England captain - but he was left out of the England squad in March, although that was put down to a lack of fitness and match practice.
"His omission this week appears far more significant as Rooney has started United's past five Premier League matches - scoring three goals in his past six appearances - and is clearly fit enough to represent his country," says Hughes.
"Southgate will not publicly call time on an international career that has brought Rooney 119 caps and a record 53 goals, but in reality the England manager is planning for life without him, particularly as he is widely expected to be playing in China next season."
Rooney has made just 15 starts for United in the Premier League this season as the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford took his place leading the attacking line, says the Daily Star.
Rashford is also vying for an England spot along with the likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge.
Wayne Rooney departs as youngsters take the stage at Man United
True to his word, Jose Mourinho fielded the youngest Manchester United side to have played in the Premier League on the final day of the season yesterday.
But there was room for one old-timer in the line-up - Wayne Rooney, who most people believe was playing his final game for United at Old Trafford.
But United's record goalscorer was a peripheral figure as a new generation of youngsters took to the stage, as has been the case for most of the season,.
"In terms of send-offs, there can hardly be a more low-key one in living memory - a dead rubber against Crystal Palace in a stadium with plenty of empty seats," says Paul Hirst of The Times.
"That Rooney was replaced by 16-year-old Angel Gomes, the first player born in this millennium to play in the Premier League, was significant. It was a case of out with the old and in with the new."
A day later, Gomes posted a picture of him meeting Rooney ten years ago, when he was just a child and the midfielder was at the height of his game.
Of the five youngsters who made their debuts against Palace, it was boyhood United fan Josh Harrop from Stockport who made the biggest impact, scoring the first goal.
The 21-year-old's strike appeared to sum up the new era for United.
"Rooney was stood unmarked less than ten yards to his right in the box when he collected Paul Pogba's cutting pass in the 15th minute, but Harrop decided to go it alone," says Hirst. "He dropped his left shoulder, deceiving Martin Kelly and quickly darted right before curling a peach of a shot into the far corner."
That goal and another for Pogba sealed the win, but it is Rooney's future that remains the "major talking point", says Simon Stone of the BBC.
"If it proves to be his last competitive appearance for United at Old Trafford, it was rather subdued, and somewhat at odds with the way he began, lashing home that wonderful hat-trick on his debut against Fenerbahce in 2004."