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25 Aug

Wayne Rooney England return not impossible

Wayne Rooney could yet play for England again despite announcing his retirement, Gareth Southgate says.

England's record goalscorer this week quit international football after turning down the chance to be part of Southgate's latest World Cup qualifying squad.

The Football Association are already considering how to honour Rooney's contribution of 53 goals in 119 appearances - and ways of including him in the England set-up.

And Southgate has not completely ruled out recalling the Everton striker ahead of Russia next summer.

He said: "I suppose that we'd have to see where he was at, where the squad was at, where everything else was at. It would be foolish to say 'no' because anything is possible.

"Really part of that question should go to Wayne, but I think you've also got to respect his decision and the thinking behind that. But have I seen players change their minds? Well yes, I think we all have."

In the meantime Rooney can expect some kind of FA recognition, even if it stops short of the kind of farewell game the German FA recently laid on for Lukas Podolski.

Southgate said: "[A farewell appearance] has never been done before and we have obviously had World Cup winners, but absolutely we should be recognising his career with England and showing appreciation.

"I know already there is discussion around that and discussion about how we may keep him involved with England. I think there should definitely be some kind of recognition and whatever that looks like should be for the FA to decide."