Wayne Rooney missed out on a meeting held by England manager Gareth Southgate ahead of games against Germany and Lithuania to continue his recovery from a knee injury.
The 31-year-old, whose last appearance came during a 1-1 draw with AFC Bournemouth, was left out of the England squad after picking up a knock in the lead-up to Manchester United’s trip to Rostov.
Southgate nonetheless invited Rooney, along with nine other players not included in the squad, to a meeting at St George’s whereupon he outlined his as England manager.
However, according to the Telegraph‘s Jason Burt, the Englishman declined the offer in order to focus solely on returning to full fitness ahead of Man United’s game against West Bromwich on April 1.
One can’t help but wonder how influential Jose Mourinho would have been in determining this decision. The Portuguese will be wary of the importance of optimising his squad size ahead of an April period consisting of eight games.
And Rooney, one suspects, will be on a similar wavelength of thought. We could be looking ahead to Rooney’s last couple of months in a United shirt, and the 31-year-old will, in turn, want to make every effort when it comes to returning to full fitness ahead of what promises to be an explosive end to the season.