England’s record goalscorer has not featured in any of his country’s last five games, but his current form at Everton could see him return to the squad for next month’s qualifiers against Malta and Lithuania.
Southgate has watched Rooney twice already this season and saw him notch his 200th Premier League goal in Everton’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Monday, with Rooney saying he plans to talk to the Three Lions boss in the coming days.
But Hurst, whose hat-trick fired England to their only World Cup title in 1966, believes Southgate should not consider recalling the 31-year-old.
“He has made some bold decisions and the bold one he can make is to say it’s the end of Wayne Rooney’s international career,” said Hurst.
“He has been an absolutely fantastic player. At club level he wasn’t playing regularly for Manchester United last season, which is an indication – and if you are not playing regularly at club level you certainly should not represent England.
“I wouldn’t necessary call it a bold decision to not play Wayne Rooney any more, but if I were in charge of the national team I would call Wayne up and say: ‘Thanks very much’.
“He has been a fantastic player, one of the greatest players in this country, but old Father Time – and I have been there as a striker – comes where you lose a bit of sharpness and I think his time playing for England is over.”
Rooney has made an impressive start to life back at Goodison Park, scoring the winning goal against Stoke last weekend and following it up with another at the Etihad Stadium.
But since exploding onto the scene at Euro 2004 with four goals in four matches, he has consistently failed to make an impact at major tournaments and has scored only once at a World Cup, in the 2-1 loss to Uruguay in 2014.
So even a sustained run of form for the Toffees would not alter Hurst’s view that Southgate should stick with youth.
“I am delighted for Wayne going back to a club he loves,” he added. “But he has to be playing over a long period of time to be successful and selected.
“If he does it for half a season where he’s scoring goals and playing well, then maybe he could argue his case, but then he’s still another half a season down the road and him coming back into the squad might then be a distraction, particularly if they have done well.”
The future of the national team bodes well if this summer is anything to go by, as the Under-19s and Under-20s both won summer tournaments while the Under-21s were beaten in the semi-final of the European Championships on penalties.
But players such as Chelsea trio Tammy Abraham, Nathaniel Chalobah and Lewis Baker, and Liverpool’s Under-20 star Sheyi Ojo, appear to have no way into their first teams, so have had to be loaned out.
And Hurst, who as McDonald’s director of football is heavily involved in the company’s commitment to grassroots football in this country, would like to see those sort of players get a chance at the top level.
“If you look at the Premier League, that is one of the disappointing aspects; that not enough young English players get a chance in the teams,” he added.
“We would like to see more of that, a lot get sent out on loan but we don’t seem to see as many progressing and playing first-team football at a higher level.
“That is the next step for the national team to progress, younger players playing at a higher level for their clubs on a regular basis.”
Sir Geoff Hurst was speaking at the McDonald’s & FA Community Football Day at Abraham Moss Warriors JFC in Manchester, celebrating 15 years of McDonald’s partnering with the four UK home nations & supporting grassroots football. For more information visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/betterplay
Source: Daily Express