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 By Jason Dasey

Wayne Rooney has role to play for England at World Cup - Emile Heskey

Emile Heskey talks to ESPN FC regarding what he feels Wayne Rooney must do to secure a place at the 2018 World Cup.

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney still has an international future into his 30s, despite being dropped for England's two June international matches, according to  former Premier League rival Emile Heskey.

Heskey, 39, played for England at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when he was 32 years old.

Rooney, who has earned 119 caps since 2003, will turn 32 before next year's World Cup in Russia. England manager Gareth Southgate says the door is still open for the Liverpool-born attacker, but he must secure regular first-team football.

"I played in the national team until I was 32, and I believe Wayne can probably go even longer," ex-Liverpool and Leicester forward Heskey told ESPN FC on a visit to Singapore.

"I still think he's got a lot to offer. He's a great individual. He's shown that he's a great captain and a great leader."

Rooney was left out of England's 25-man squad to face Scotland in a 2018 World Cup qualifier at Glasgow's Hampden Park on June 10, and in a glamour friendly against France at the Stade de France on June 13. 

He made only 15 starts in the Premier League this season, and his haul of eight goals in all competitions was his lowest return since he joined Man United from Everton in 2004. Rooney was a late substitute as the Red Devils beat Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League final in Stockholm on May 25.

Wayne Rooney was a late substitute as Manchester United won the Europa League final on May 25.

But Heskey, who was sometimes criticised for his lack of goals at international level while scoring seven times in 62 England appearances, still believes Rooney has an important role to play.

"As you saw in the [2016] European Championship, it's difficult at international level," Heskey said. "You need experienced players to help you through so he could still be that guy and give the team what they need."

Heskey, who played in four major tournaments beginning with the 2000 European Championship, added that the Tottenham pair of Harry Kane and Dele Alli were the England attacking players he was most impressed with.

"Kane is going from strength to strength every season, and so is Dele Alli. Those two are looking very exciting," Heskey said.

"It's funny that Tottenham are the team that everyone's talking about. Kane knows where the goal is. He wants to score goals. He still has other parts of his game that excite me as well."

Heskey announced his international retirement in 2010, but played at club level until the age of 36 before hanging up his boots after two seasons with Bolton Wanderers in England's second tier in May 2016.

Emile Heskey will be ESPN FC's special guest at a UEFA Champions League final viewing party at Singapore National Stadium on Saturday.


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