Southgate believes one-off Rooney return will have positive impact

11 November, 2018, 16:19 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • Wayne Rooney is an iconic player says Ryan Giggs

Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson has been handed a maiden England call-up for this month's games against the United States and Croatia, with former captain Wayne Rooney making his global farewell. "He's been involved with either scoring or assists, with a high number of goals this season, so it's a good opportunity for us to have a look at him and see how he fits into what we do", said Southgate.

Rooney, 33, will receive his 120th cap despite having not featured for the Three Lions in nearly two years - although Southgate confirmed the former captain will not start the match nor wear the number 10 jersey.

The 33-year-old Rooney had also been England captain, but in his retirement Southgate's youthful team created a new identity with Harry Kane as its new leader. "He's our greatest goal-scorer and so why not give him the send-off he deserves?" commented Kane, who added he was willing to give up the captain's armband for the occasion.

It's a shame that the opportunity for a record-breaker, with a stellar global career, to have the honour of captaining his country one last time has been denied.

The Football Association has insisted that naming the USA fixture after the Wayne Rooney Foundation was not created to sell more tickets - although sales have risen from 45,000 to about 60,000.

He will, however, play some part in the upcoming friendly against the United States in a match which will be known officially as the Wayne Rooney Foundation International.

"I think it should be appropriate that people are not heading for the tubes before he comes on and also we have got out of the game what we wanted and not taking someone off too early. If he plays, of course he'll be the captain", he said in Wednesday's sporting press.

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"I really think it's important that the former players feel part of what we're doing with England".

The DC United forward, who has not played for England for two years, will not start the match but will be introduced as a substitute to allow fans to pay tribute to the country's record goalscorer.

Dunk has impressed starting 10 of Brighton's 11 Premier League matches at the heart of a defence that has kept three clean sheets in its last four games.

"And then we are able to acknowledge Wayne's contribution after that".

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Lewis Dunk and Michael Keane have also been named in the squad to face United States of America and Croatia.

Southgate has had to ring the changes in his squad, with injury ruling out Mason Mount, James Maddison, Harry Maguire and James Tarkowski, while Nathaniel Chalobah has been told, like Adam Lallana, he needs to gain more regular playing time with his club.

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