Wilkins feels the United captain deserves more playing chances.
“He has been so good for Manchester United and so good for English football that I think he needs that little bit of respect and be thrown back in again," he told talkSPORT.
“What he has done over his career, he's sacrificed himself too much for me.
“He runs all over the field – he defends, he attacks, he sets up goals, he scores goals.
“Let's not forget he's England's top goalscorer and he's Manchester United's top goalscorer. This guy has been a phenomenal footballer, give him some respect.
“He's 31 years of age. When Zlatan plays, at 35, he plays in and around his space. He doesn't go charging all over the field and helping his teammates out. Rooney does.
"Rooney is a sacrificial lamb, as far as I am concerned, and I hate it.
“I would love to see Wayne come back and really be a force once again."