This has been a chastening year for the 31-year-old forward as restricted playing time has led onlookers to not only query his role for the Three Lions and Manchester United but his future at the top level.
Talk of a possible Old Trafford exit rumbles on, so too whether there is a place for the country's all-time record scorer in Southgate's remodelled England set-up.
Lukas Podolski's farewell match in Germany on Wednesday sparked talk of a warm Wembley send-off for Rooney - a conversation that Southgate says is far too premature.
He's absolutely (in my thinking). I didn't quite understand why we were talking about tributes when he has still got every chance of being in this team. I'm conscious that we'll be talking about Wayne again and I'm hoping to be talking about the players who are here, but there's no reason why he is finished with us.
That was the most forthright Southgate has been about Rooney during an international break in which he has deployed an aggressive, high-tempo attack that it would seems difficult to shoehorn the former Everton player into.
The England manager's move away from the notion of a permanent captain also raised questions over Rooney's future, fuelled for some by the United man's non-attendance at Monday's meeting at St George's Park where Southgate outlined his vision. But the manager said:
It was no problem. The more important thing for me was those guys felt they'd been invited, which I just said to Harry (Kane). The important thing wasn't that they couldn't come - it was important that they felt part of the group. We need a bigger squad. It just means I'll have to put a few more miles on the clock going round and seeing them.
Southgate last week mentioned game time as well as fitness when quizzed on Rooney's absence for the friendly in Germany and Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Southgate: Rooney's not finished with England