Thursday, 18 July, 2019

Rooney all smiles in England training ahead of Wembley farewell

Wayne Rooney Rooney is England's record goalscorer having netted 53 times for his country
Shannon Reynolds | 15 November, 2018, 21:31

Fabian Delph will captain England against the United States of America, but will pass the armband to Wayne Rooney when the veteran England forward comes off the bench for his final global appearance on Thursday.

Rooney, 33, made the last of his 119 global appearances midway through England's World Cup qualifying campaign two years ago.

"When I was young, growing up you think of Wayne Rooney as England and all of the stuff he has done for his club and country it is unbelievable".

"I think what is important, as well as that the game is going to go ahead and that I'm going to take part".

Indeed Rooney was full of praise for Southgate's impact as England manager, describing him as "fearless".

"Playing on the squad for this game and see some old teammates, see Gareth and the coaching staff, and then obviously to play at Wembley for the last time will be a great moment", Rooney said.

The 33-year-old also corrected a reporter's assertion that he had not been called-up since that point, pointing to the fact he retired on his terms when Gareth Southgate tried to recall him in August 2017.

"It's not important", Rooney said.

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"Yes", he replied. "It was on the plane yesterday with my four kids, trying to get them to sleep!"

Should Luis Enrique's men fail to bounce back with victory in Croatia on Thursday, England will have the chance to progress to the inaugural Nations League semi-finals by beating the Croats at Wembley on Sunday.

"I only knew it was going to happen a couple of weeks ago". I'm finding my feet in the States and my children now go to school there, so it wouldn't be fair on them for me to come back and have them moving back and forward.

"I saw over two years ago the talent we had with the young players", he added.

For now, though, the focus is on the past.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Rooney said he understood the criticism and would have not agreed to the farewell appearance if the cap meant infringing on Shilton's record or that of another field player. I had my first training session on Monday and it was unusual getting in amongst the players at training.

"Having that makes you try too hard and makes you a bit too anxious, so you don't enjoy it as much as you should".

"Some good games, some bad games. Out of the England managers I've had he's probably the only one who's really brought so many through as a group and he deserves a lot of credit for that".

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