Wayne Rooney would answer England’s call if the country needed him to come out of international retirement at the World Cup, according to Roy Hodgson.
Ex-England boss Hodgson, whose tenure ran between 2012 and 2016 with Rooney made permanent captain in the latter years, believes the 31-year-old’s loyalty to the national team would win over if he were called upon for the tournament in Russia.
Having not played for England since last November, the Everton forward rejected a recall to Gareth Southgate’s squad on Wednesday and announced his retirement.
That ended an international career that saw Rooney win 119 caps and score 53 goals, a national record.
But when asked if Rooney would consider returning if Southgate told him he was needed for the World Cup due to injuries, Hodgson was confident the former Manchester United star would agree to a comeback.
“I’m not a gambling man and never have been, but if I was such a person I certainly wouldn’t put any money on Wayne, in that situation, refusing to come out of retirement,” Hodgson told Sky Sports.
“If it was put to him in that way, I know how much this country does mean to him in terms of playing international football.
“One hopes for his sake and the country’s sake that situation won’t arise, but I feel sure if it came to that scenario and Gareth went to him and said, ‘We’re in a terrible mess here and we really need you, will you come out retirement?’ then I would be very surprised if Wayne didn’t say, ‘Yes’. But I don’t know, I’m second guessing.”
Hodgson feels Rooney will have found it tough to step aside at a time when England have so many promising youngsters breaking through ahead of the World Cup.
“I think he will have lots of regrets, as he knows how good this group of players that have been put together over the last two or three years can be and will be,” said Hodgson.
“He may think maybe in Russia they will show that and it would be nice to be there.
“All the more credit to him that he’s made the decision based on his club football. You shouldn’t talk someone out of that.
“He’s not a guy who will make that decision lightly and playing for England meant so much to him over the years.”