You have to go back to 2011 and Michael Owen for the last English winner. In fact only six UK players have lifted the award -1956 Stanley Matthews;1964: Denis Law;1966: Bobby Charlton;1968: George Best;1978/79: Kevin Keegan; 2001: Michael Owen
Rooney's Manchester United team-mate Robin van Persie joins Manchester City trio Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli on the list, as does 2011 winner, Barcelona's Lionel Messi. In fcat 11 Spanish based players are nominated which outwieghs those from the Premier League and might suggest the balance of power is shifting.
Premier League bosses Roberto Mancini, Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Di Matteo are on the Coach of the Year list.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Zurich on 7 January 2013.
These will be selected by the captains and head coaches of the men's national teams as well as by international media representatives selected by France Football magazine.
Rooney, 27, scored 19 goals in 2012 to help Manchester United to a second-place finish in the Premier League. He also scored four goals for England, including one at Euro 2012 against Ukraine but on balance compared to the likes of Messi Rooney looks an unlikley winner this time around.
Striker Didier Drogba, who scored the winning penalty in Chelsea's Champions League final shoot-out win over Bayern Munich - his final kick for the club before leaving to join Shanghai Shenhua - is also in contention for the Ballon d'Or despite playing in the Far East.
Real Madrid have six nominees, including former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo and ex-Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, while Jose Mourinho is named on the coach list.
The shortlist will be narrowed down to three names for each category on 29 November.
Player nominees: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City/Argentina), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid/Spain), Mario Balotelli (Manchester City/Italy), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus/Italy), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona/Spain), Iker Casillas (Real Madrid/Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal), Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua/Ivory Coast), Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid/Colombia), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St Germain/Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona/Spain), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich/Germany), Neymar (Santos/Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid/Germany), Gerard Pique (Barcelona/Spain), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus/Italy), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United/England), Yaya Toure (Manchester City/Ivory Coast), Robin van Persie (Manchester United/Netherlands), Xavi (Barcelona/Spain)
Coach nominees: Vicente del Bosque (Spain/Spain national team), Roberto Di Matteo (Italy/Chelsea), Alex Ferguson (Scotland/Manchester United), Pep Guardiola (Spain/Barcelona), Jupp Heynckes (Germany/Bayern Munich), Juergen Klopp (Germany/Borussia Dortmund), Joachim Loew (Germany/Germany national team), Roberto Mancini (Italy/Manchester City), Jose Mourinho (Portugal/Real Madrid), Cesare Prandelli (Italy/Italy national team)