Thursday, 15 November, 2018


Giggs backs Rooney playing England friendly as chance to recognise ‘icon’

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Noah Ferguson | 08 November, 2018, 22:46

Giving England's record scorer Wayne Rooney a farewell appearance is coach Gareth Southgate's attempt to better celebrate the contribution of the nation's football stars.

It was announced last week that Rooney would return to the England squad for one final appearance, now named the "Wayne Rooney foundation international", against the USA.

Wilson, who has six goals in 11 Premier League matches this season, joins Jadon Sancho and - for the United States of America game only - Wayne Rooney among the forward chosen by Southgate. "It's a real good thing for everyone to be a part of", he added.

Harry Kane (on right) will cede the England captaincy to Wayne Rooney (on left) in honour of Rooney's legendary career. I'm still able to look to the future with the squad we've picked, but also I've spoken a lot to the players about the shirt, the history of the short, honouring former players.

"Having said that, we've given caps to people who haven't earned them in the past - I'm not going to name names - and you do wonder how on earth they got them".

The 33-year-old, who now plays for DC United in Major League Soccer, has not represented the Three Lions in nearly two years. This is a chance for not only a great player, but an iconic player and top goalscorer.

"There have been ongoing discussions since Wayne retired about paying tribute to him and his England career", said Southgate, who added Rooney had declined an opportunity to be honoured before the World Cup so as not to take the attention away from those going to Russian Federation.

"He was a great captain for us".

A draw with Croatia followed by a victory over Spain leaves England waiting on the result of the meeting between their League A Group Four rivals before Southgate knows what is at stake in his final Nations League game. "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.

Wilson, who has scored six Premier League goals so far this season, is rewarded with a maiden call-up to the senior ranks.

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