Friday 20 September 2019

Wayne Rooney to come out of international retirement for USA friendly this month

DC United forward Wayne Rooney
DC United forward Wayne Rooney

Jason Burt

Wayne Rooney will be recalled by England this week to face the United States in a friendly at Wembley on November 15.

Gareth Southgate has agreed to allow Rooney a ‘farewell’ one-off appearance to earn his 120th cap for England.

Rooney is not expected to captain the side and it is understood that he will not start the match either. He is due to come on as a substitute.

However, his inclusion is a huge surprise and will leave Southgate and the Football Association open to the accusation that they have devalued playing for England given it is a one-off and Rooney retired from international football last year.

The FA will attempt to compare the occasion to the farewell Germany granted Lukas Podolski, as he retired from international football after facing England in a friendly in Dortmund in March 2017.

More recently, in September this year, Holland honoured Wesley Sneijder as he made his final appearance in a friendly against Peru.

Neither Podolski nor Sneijder were out of international football for as long as Rooney, 33, who announced his England retirement in August 2017 after turning down the chance to be part of the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia.

There is a school of thought that the FA do not allow England’s greatest players a dignified exit from international football but no-one can accuse them of not treating Rooney well.

Including him against the US, so close to England’s important Uefa Nations League fixture against Croatia a few days later, means that the occasion can turn into the ‘Wayne Rooney Show’ and become a distraction.

The FA will argue his presence in the squad might be a good influence around some of the younger players, although they already have important talismans such as Harry Kane to learn from.

The alternative view is that giving unnecessary game time to Rooney will limit the chances of some of those young players from featuring.

There is a strong charity element to Rooney’s inclusion as it is hoped it will help raise around £500,000 for the Wayne Rooney Foundation, which helps various charities including the NSPCC.

Rooney has been a success since he moved to the US to play for DC United, leading them to the MLS play-offs.

Online Editors

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