Roy Hodgson says there are no guarantees for record-breaking Wayne Rooney

• England manager hails his strikers before Euro 2016 qualifiers
• Hodgson focuses on double header against Estonia and Lithuania

Roy Hodgson has said there is “no guarantee” Wayne Rooney will always be a mandatory first-team player for England after hailing his current choice of strikers as the best he has worked with in his three and a half years as national team manager.

Rooney will collect a golden-boot award from Sir Bobby Charlton before the game against Estonia on Friday week after taking over from the 1966 World Cup winner as England’s record scorer. However, the striker’s achievement as the first England player to reach the 50-goal mark comes at a time when his form for Manchester United has increasingly been open to scrutiny.

Rooney’s goal in the 3-0 defeat of Sunderland last weekend was his first in 11 Premier League games but his performances have polarised opinion and Hodgson was asked whether he could imagine dropping him from the England team.

“At the moment, that day has not arrived and, with any luck, it won’t arrive because he will continue to play well and he will continue to merit his place and we will still talk as warmly about him after the tournament in June as we are now – but there is no guarantee,” he said.

“I have been in football a long time and Wayne Rooney has been in football a long time. He would regard me as someone who is very false if I ever said to him: ‘Your place is guaranteed.’ He would not expect it and I would be very upset anyway if anyone asked me to give them a guarantee of a place. No one else has ever done it and I would take umbrage if that day ever arrived.”

Hodgson has added Danny Ings, of Liverpool, to his list of strikers for the game against Estonia and the match in Lithuania three days later. The others are Harry Kane, Theo Walcott and Jamie Vardy, meaning that all five of Hodgson’s forwards scored at the weekend. Daniel Sturridge, who scored twice in Liverpool’s game against Aston Villa and has been strategically left out to continue his rehabilitation work at Anfield, is rated by Hodgson as the best of the lot and England’s manager was also contemplating calling up Callum Wilson until the Bournemouth striker suffered his knee injury.

“If you put Danny Welbeck into that list as well, who has done ever so well for us, I think our choice is enormously different to 2012, put it that way,” Hodgson said. “If I cast my mind back, there seems to be so many more players now knocking on the door than there were four years ago, so that’s got to be very positive.

“But I think I’ve got to be careful. For me, one of the key factors for a football player is consistency and reliability and there’s always going to be a situation when one player is flying, in everyone’s ideas, because he is getting a few goals, and another player is perhaps not flying and not getting a few goals. Sometimes I’ve got to see beyond that and judge the qualities of the players, their abilities and reliability.”

Hodgson has also brought in Dele Alli after the teenager’s impressive start to the season for Tottenham Hotspur. Alli has started only three games in the top division since his £5m move from Milton Keynes Dons but Hodgson believes the 19-year-old has a realistic chance of going to Euro 2016 and his list of midfielders has been reduced because of injuries to Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere and Fabian Delph, among others.

Ideally, Hodgson wanted Jack Grealish to be involved as well and an invitation was made to the Aston Villa midfielder to train with the squad at St George’s Park now he has taken what England’s manager described as the “bolder decision” to sever his ties with the Republic of Ireland set-up. The problem for Hodgson was that the Villa manager, Tim Sherwood, did not like the idea and refused to let Grealish go at a time when the 20-year-old is still waiting for Fifa to ratify the change of nationality.

“The FA wanted to show him we were pleased that he chose England,” Hodgson explained. “The idea was to show him St George’s Park and, if you like, induct him into England. “I said: ‘Yes, that would be fine, he could train with us. We often have young players training with us when we train there.’ “It wouldn’t have been a problem but Tim made it clear that wasn’t a good idea as far as he was concerned and he needed the boy to do some more training because he missed pre-season.”