• Posted on: 15 June 2017

England national team coach Gareth Southgate has warned star player Wayne Rooney over rumoured links to the Chinese Super League or the Major League Soccer (MLS).

The skipper missed two rounds of international commitments due to lack of regular playing time at his club Manchester United.

Southgate says Rooney can still get more international feature if he remains fit and eventually plays regular first team football at his club. The Three Lions boss added that a move to the less competitive Chinese League or MLS would not sway him to re-add him to his squad.

After Southgate announced his list, Rooney was the main talking point as many debated about his continued exclusion.

Spurs’ Dele Alli and Harry Kane, City’s Raheem Sterling, veteran Jermaine Defoe, Red Devil’ star Marcus Rashford and Foxes striker Jamie Vardy were the preferred forwards, largely due to their regular first team football for their clubs.

“We have been very clear. I’m very conscious that it’s always a big story when you don’t select [Rooney]. Obviously he’s not been selected as much for his club this season, so he’s not had that run of games,” Southgate explained.

He added that there was no way the coaches could dismiss “a player of his quality” but added Rooney would need to be fit and in good form to get an invitation. Adding relegated Sunderland striker Defoe who is 34 years send a message to Rooney that age was not the issue.

Southgate said the MLS and the Chinese league were inferior to the Premier League so he preferred his players “playing in the biggest possible games.”

On a lighter note, he hailed Rashford for winning more titles than him already in such a short time, saying it was “f**king depressing.” He challenged the team to raise their games generally and make their mark in the national team.