JUNE 7, 2017 – Wayne Rooney’s England career is “nowhere near over” despite being dropped from the squad, says Manchester United team-mate Marcus Rashford.
England travel to Scotland for a World Cup qualifier on Saturday and face France in a friendly three days later.
Rooney, 31, is England’s all-time leading goalscorer with 53 in 119 appearances, but has been overlooked by coach Gareth Southgate for the games.
“Wayne is a massive influence around the whole squad,” said Rashford, 19.
“He still has a lot to do in his career. There’s still a lot trophies he’ll hope to be playing for. Knowing Wayne, it’s nowhere near over.”
Southgate said the “good form” of other players, including Rashford, was behind Rooney’s omission – though the 31-year-old did not feature in England’s previous squad in March because he was not fully fit after a leg injury.
Rashford’s only start for England came in a goalscoring debut against Australia last May and his inclusion in the senior squad means he will miss this summer’s Under-21 European Championship.
The Football Association previously indicated young players needed tournament experience but Rashford, who has won eight caps, says he is “happy” to be in Southgate’s squad.
“We both look at it on the same side of things, so it’s important to be on the same page,” he said.
“Whatever age group you’re called up to, it’s important to have the mindset that you’re going to achieve great things.”
Rashford played 58 games for United and England this season, scoring 11 goals, having broken into his club’s first-team last term and been part of the Three Lions’ Euro 2016 squad.
“To me, I have not been fast-tracked, there’s been a lot of games,” added Rashford. “I feel comfortable in the position I’m in.
“England and United have both dealt with it in a positive way and they are dealing with the situation well.
“A lot of it is mentally. If you prepare yourself mentally the right way then physically you’ll be able to push yourself through it.”
Rashford, who started United’s Europa League final win over Ajax, says he is proving he is continuing to develop as a player.
“To me, I already know it is happening because I’m working hard in training every day,” he said. “I can see the development in myself, but for me to be playing and scoring goals is proof.
“It’s a process and you have to believe in the process and buy into it. There are times you think you should be pushing and doing more, but in reality you should be patient.
“My all-round game has gone to another level and the way my brain thinks when I’m in certain situations on the pitch is different to what it was a year ago.”
As for England’s visit to Scotland in World Cup qualifying on Saturday, Rashford hopes he will get to witness a hostile environment at Hampden Park.
“It possibly will be one of the toughest I’ve faced so far,” he said of the Hampden crowd. “For me, I’m hoping so because it’s another experience I can tick off the list.”