Cape Town - Injured captain Wayne Rooney is excited to be part of the fierce competition for places in England's starting line-up for the Euro 2016 finals in France.
The 30-year-old striker's place in the first-team has come under serious threat from in-form Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane and Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, with both leading the scoring charts in the Premier League this campaign.
"I have never taken my place for granted. Obviously, you want to play and it is great that competition is now there. With the quality we have got, it is exciting to be a part of," Rooney, England's record goal-scorer, told ITV on Tuesday.
Rooney has been out since February 13 with a knee ligament problem but is expected to return in time for Manchester United's league trip to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on April 10.
"If everything goes according to plan, I'm back outside running now and I'm hoping to be full training within the next week or 10 days, so not too far away," Rooney said.
The average age of the England side in Saturday's 3-2 win over Germany was just 24 and Rooney acknowledged that the balance between age and experience will be a key factor in determining their success in France.
"There are so many of them that have not been to a major tournament. There's a lot of young players," he said.
"The likes of myself, Joe Hart and Gary Cahill can give them advice and make them feel more comfortable."
England face Russia, Slovakia and Wales in Group B of the 24-team tournament that starts on June 10.