Monday 16 September 2019

Rooney rejects criticism of send-off game

Defiant: Wayne Rooney. Photo: PA
Defiant: Wayne Rooney. Photo: PA

Matt Law

Wayne Rooney has told critics of his England farewell to like it or lump it as he expressed the hope that he will be the first of many to be granted an international send-off.

The decision to hand Rooney a final 120th cap against the United States at Wembley tomorrow night has split opinion and angered many former England players, including Peter Shilton, Stuart Pearce and Paul Ince.

Rooney has insisted he would never have agreed to a comeback game if it had meant surpassing Shilton's record of 125 caps. Shilton has claimed the 33-year-old's recall is "devaluing England", while Pearce said it "cheapened an international cap" and Ince described it as "farcical". But Rooney defended his inclusion by saying: "Everyone is entitled to their opinions. The most important thing is, speaking with the FA, we both felt it was right. The players I spoke to and the FA have spoken to, think it is right.

"We all know a lot of the older players - players who won the World Cup - weren't treated as well as they should have been."

Rooney, who is England's record scorer with 53 goals, added: "I hope in 10 or 15 years' time we're sat here for someone like Harry Kane, who could possibly go on and get the goalscoring record, and it will be something that happens again."

Rooney said that he agreed to make a return only because his final cap would not alter any existing records.

Irish Independent

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