Gareth Southgate defends decision to include Wayne Rooney in 28-man squad for England’s friendly against USA: ‘I’m still able to look to the future with the players I’ve selected’
- Wayne Rooney has been called up to England squad for the game against USA
- He is likely to come on as a substitute to earn his 120th, and final, England cap
- Despite criticism, Gareth Southgate has defended the decision to include him
- He says he can still look to the future, while confirming Rooney won’t wear No 10
Gareth Southgate has defended his decision to include Wayne Rooney in his squad, insisting it had not devalued the shirt and saying he ‘would have no issue’ if he is handed the captain’s armband when he comes on the field.
The England manager faced questions about Rooney’s controversial recall to the national team at Wembley on Thursday and he was defiant in his responses.
Southgate said ‘discussions were started over 12 months ago’. ‘I was quite happy for it to be before the World Cup but he didn’t want to detract from the team at that time,’ said Southgate.
Wayne Rooney will pull on an England shirt for the 120th and final time against the USA
Gareth Southgate defended the decision after announcing his 28-man squad on Thursday
WAYNE ROONEY’S ENGLAND CAREER
Major tournaments appearances: Six
Accolades: England’s all-time top goalscorer
‘As a manager, my involvement was if I was happy for him to play some part in the game and I said yes, because I’m still able to look to the future with the players I’ve selected.’
Southgate said Rooney’s involvement would further emphasise the importance he stores in the ‘history of the shirt’, pointing to the fact that former players have been brought back to meet his squad and present newly-capped players with their shirt. ‘All the players respect Wayne’s contribution and he deserves a proper send off,’ he said.
He said they were influenced by the send-off Lukas Podolski received when England met Germany in a friendly, claiming that in the past England have not been ‘brilliant’ at celebrating the career of their internationals.
The DC United striker will turn out for his country against the USA in a fundraising friendly
Rooney made his debut against Australia in a friendly at Upton Park on February 12, 2003
ENGLAND SQUAD TO FACE USA AND CROATIA LATER THIS MONTH
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Michael Keane (Everton), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Alex McCarthy (Southampton), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (DC United)*, Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Callum Wilson (AFC Bournemouth), Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur)
*Will only feature against USA in friendly.
‘I know how much it meant to the 66 squad to come to St George’s Park before the World Cup and what it meant to Sir Bobby Charlton to have the main training pitch named after him,’ he said.
While Southgate said he had not devalued caps. ‘It’s very difficult to be precise on that,’ he said. ‘If the team needs a change you can come on for two minutes and get a cap. I played in a game where we changed the whole team at half-time.’
Southgate did, however, say Rooney won’t wear the No 10 shirt because he ‘won’t start the game’.
Rooney’s return to the England set-up will see the 33-year-old awarded his 120th cap on November 15.
Gareth Southgate has now named his squad for the ‘Wayne Rooney Foundation International’
England’s Twitter account confirmed the news last week by tweeting a picture of his new shirt
The game against the United States at Wembley is being called the ‘Wayne Rooney Foundation International’; his own charity will be one of a number who will benefit from the proceeds of the game.
Rooney, who has scored 53 goals for England, will make an appearance as a substitute towards the end of the Wembley clash in a move designed to commemorate the legendary striker’s international career.
The former Manchester United star, who announced his international retirement 15 months ago, will train as normal with the rest of the squad before leaving the camp ahead of England’s UEFA Nations League tie against Croatia three days later.
Rooney’s last appearance for his country came in the 3-0 win over Scotland two years ago, in which he has moved Stateside in that time.
He has been prolific since making his move over to Washington, dragging the MLS side off the bottom of the table and into the playoff places, scoring 12 goals in 20 appearances.
Two big decisions in Southgate’s squad was the inclusion of Callum Wilson and Michael Keane
Wilson, pictured training with Bournemouth this week, has played for U21s but never seniors
As an England player, Rooney has won 71 games, drawn 29 times and lost just 19 of his matches at international level.
Elsewhere, Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson has been handed his first England call-up by manager Gareth Southgate.
And Everton defender Michael Keane has been handed an international recall in an extended 28-man squad.
Sportsmail revealed last Friday that both Wilson and Keane were in line for places in Southgate’s squad for the games against USA and Croatia.
Keane (left) has been in impressive form for Everton and is now back in the Three Lions squad
Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho has also kept his place in an extended 28-man squad
On Wilson’s call-up, Southgate said: ‘Wilson has been involved in high number of goals this season, in goals and assists, so this is a good opportunity for us to look at him. And it’s a good opportunity for him to see how he fits into the senior team.’
On Keane, Southgate added: ‘He is playing in an Everton team that is now playing in a similar to the way we want to play.’
Jadon Sancho has kept his place in the squad, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been recalled after missing the previous squad. Fit again Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard return, in place if Mason Mount and James Maddison – who are carrying injuries.
Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez have also been called up despite carrying injuries. But Liverpool defender Gomez is suffering from an Achilles problem an could yet pull out of the squad.
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