He hopes the Three Lions will one day earn the tribute Roo is receiving in his one-off comeback against the USA this week.
Southgate said: “The one bit that Wayne has talked to me about that he regrets, is there wasn’t that team success he wanted with England.
“In the end we all want that. But then within that, you also recognise the contribution players have made individually.”
DC United striker Rooney, 33, has been recalled for a special send-off at Wembley on Thursday — as exclusively revealed by last week’s Sun on Sunday.
England’s 53-goal record scorer never experienced a high like this summer’s run to the World Cup semi-finals.
And manager Southgate believes that gap in the former Everton and Manchester United star’s impressive CV can drive on the new generation.
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, who ended his three-year international goal drought with a double in last month’s 3-2 Nations League win over Spain, has succeeded Rooney as England’s No 10.
Southgate was asked whether Sterling would be spurred on by Roo’s unique farewell and said: “Yeah, I think every player will look at how their team-mates or former players are treated and will feel ‘That might be me one day’.
“We have some young players who have the opportunity to really have a big impact with England over the next few years.”
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