Rooney has struggled for Manchester United this season, scoring just two goals in 13 league appearances ahead of his side's trip to Stoke City on Boxing Day.
And Hodgson has let Rooney know he must start putting in better performances before the summer tournament, insisting that his experience is not enough to book him a place in the team.
"It doesn’t matter how much good work he can do for us off the field in terms of being some sort of mentor for the players," he told Sky Sports.
"We really need him being Wayne Rooney on the field: scoring goals, making goals and with his drive and commitment leading us forward."
However, Hodgson is confident Rooney will find his form in the second half of the season and become a key player for England in France.
"I’m hoping so, absolutely," Hodgson said. "Those that are a little bit older and have a bit more experience – and Wayne's right at the top of that with his 100 and whatever caps – are going to be important because a lot of players going to the Euros won't have that experience."
England have been drawn in Group B for next year's tournament, alongside Wales, Russia and Slovakia.