England v Scotland: I will pick Rooney even if he is not playing for United - Hodgson

Ahead of the final quartet of qualifiers that will decide if England need to take the play-off route to next year’s World Cup, the current impasse over Wayne Rooney’s future at Manchester United is far from ideal.

MAKING A POINT: England coach Roy Hodgson talks during training yesterday ahead of the friendly international with Scotland.

The striker seems hell bent on leaving Old Trafford, but with the Premier League champions equally adamant that he will not be sold to Chelsea, there seems every chance of the saga dragging on until the closing of the transfer window on September 2.

That, surely, is the last thing England need with their first qualifier of the season coming just four days later.

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Rooney is yet to feature in any of United’s competitive pre-season fixtures due to hamstring and shoulder problems.

The 27-year-old is, though, set to play for the Three Lions tomorrow night against Scotland at Wembley and Hodgson insists Rooney will remain in his World Cup plans even if his future at Old Trafford remains unresolved.

“It would be very nice if that happened, both for him and his club,” said Hodgson, when asked yesterday if he would prefer Rooney’s situation to be sorted out quickly.

“My hope and desire is that is what will happen. But in my year and a bit as national team manager I have been faced many times with a situation where players are not always playing in their team, but because they have the qualities, talent and skills we are looking for, they have managed to be selected.

“I am hoping that won’t be the case with Wayne, but I am not prepared to make any statements to suggest if he is not playing he cannot be considered for England.

“If he doesn’t play at Manchester United, he won’t be the first player who will be available and possibly in contention for an England place who is not playing for his club side.

“That was basically the case with a lot of players during the whole of last year and they were still playing for us. I am thinking of James Milner, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott etc etc.

“Wayne wouldn’t be the first. Of course it is not ideal, but I don’t choose ideal situations. I deal with the situations that are there.

“He will always be considered for England whilst he is physically fit because he is one of our best players.”

Rooney looked sharp in training at St George’s Park yesterday as England prepare to take on the Scots for the 111th time.

Hodgson added: “Body language is quite an important thing actually, particularly how they seem when they report for international duty.

“You can read quite a lot into a player’s demeanour, and as a coach it is important your players have the correct demeanour.

“You won’t have it all the time as they have their own private problems, and at club level in particular you might have one or two who are unhappy with their situations.

“I have had that at every club I have been at. But, in general terms, the way players turn up, speak to each other and go about their business off the pitch is very important.

“And it is part of our job to do everything in our power to get a good body language from them, and the vibe that everything is good and they are ready to do a job.

“I would agree that Wayne’s body language has been good.”

Much of the pre-match focus may have been dominated by talk of Rooney’s future, but Hodgson has plenty of other questions to ponder.

With the Premier League season just a few days away from getting under way, the England chief is well aware that he could incur the wrath of several top-flight managers if anyone returns to their club injured.

One boost for Hodgson, however, ahead of the autumn qualifiers that include meetings with Ukraine, Montenegro and Poland is Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere having come through pre-season unscathed.