The duo have had contrasting seasons so far, with the Everton midfielder having continued his development this season and flourishing alongside the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu.
In contrast Rooney has suffered at Manchester United, with him struggling to score the goals in a side that currently creates very little.
He has bounced back in recent weeks though, and McManaman says he would still pick him over Barkley for England, especially if it meant getting Harry Kane into the number nine role.
“The way the team is set up, I’d have Harry Kane as a number nine and Rooney as a number ten,” he told Fletch and Sav.
“If it was a choice between choosing out on Ross Barkley or Wayne, I’d have Wayne all day long.
“We’re talking about England and winning a trophy, you have your best players in. Forget about youth and building to the next tournament.”
While McManaman suggests that there is direct competition between Barkley and Rooney in the England squad, a bigger challenger to him is Tottenham’s Dele Alli.
The young midfielder has been one of the rising stars of this season and continued that fine form with a wonder goal in Spurs’ win over Crystal Palace this weekend.
He looks set to be a dead cert to be in Roy Hodgson’s squad should he maintain that form and would be a competitor for Barkley’s favoured number ten role.
So while McManaman says he would pick Rooney over Barkley at present, the debate for the England manager is likely to be whether it is the Everton or Tottenham man who makes his starting XI in the summer.