Wayne Rooney has vowed to regain his place in England’s starting line-up after he was dropped for the first time for Tuesday’s game against Slovenia.
The country’s most capped outfield player and all-time top scorer will be on the substitutes’ bench in Ljubliana after interim boss Gareth Southgate took the decision to drop the 30-year-old.
Rooney has also been left out of the Manchester United team in recent weeks but refuses to believe that his career is on a permanent downward trajectory.
“I am 30 years of age,” Rooney said. “I am not 35 or 36 where you are thinking, ‘Can you get back from it?’
“I will just keep working. I have said before that I will not stop playing for England and then think of going to Dubai for a few days in the international break. After the summer it would have been easy for me to walk away and say: ‘That’s it, I’ve had enough,’ but that’s not me.
“I feel I have a lot to offer and I’ve made that clear, certainly until the World Cup in Russia. That’s what I want. I’m not suddenly going to turn round and say: ‘I’m not playing, I’m not going to turn up.’ I will turn up when called upon and be ready.”
Rooney cited former team-mate Ryan Giggs as an example of how players can adapt their game as they get older.
“Ryan Giggs at 30 wasn’t the same player he was at 18 and he played until he was 40,” he said. “There’s lots of examples out there you can use – players re-evaluate and work out the best way to move forwards. I’m sure that will happen with me.
“I am not naive in terms of thinking that I am still a 20-year-old. I understand that. My game is different to that of a 20-year-old, but I also think I have qualities that can help move this team forward. I’m not denying it’s a difficult moment but I have to show the right attitude, try to be positive and make sure I am supportive of my team-mates.”
The England captain’s demotion to the bench in Ljubljana comes after a minority of fans booed Rooney during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley.
Rooney refused to shy away from the media in Slovenia and insisted on attending the pre-match press conferenbce.
“I’ve played 13 years non-stop for England, given everything, and a time comes when you’re not the first name on the team-sheet, like I have been in the past,” he said.
“I think there are many people playing in the Premier League and around the country who would only dream of being part of an England squad.
“I’ve done it 117 times, but of course a time comes where there might be a bit of a change, but all I can do is keep working and turning up, so that I am ready when called upon.
“I understand this is part of football. It is something which you have to go through and I am big enough to deal with it.”