Wayne Rooney defends decision to make England farewell against United States
- Author: Lawrence Cooper Nov 16, 2018,
Nov 16, 2018, 1:09
There was a passing denial he had gatecrashed that wedding at the team hotel in November 2016, the day after he had won his 119th cap in a victory over Scotland, and a reminder that Gareth Southgate "did pick me again, actually" after the incident. It will be my last game.
"My form has been good in the States and if I got called up because of that then it would be a different situation, but this will be my last game".
Despite the opposition to it, the match against the US appears to be set up as a Wayne Rooney testimonial, and although he'll be starting on the bench, the forward will take centre stage when he's brought on according to the Evening Standard's James Olley.
Everyone, he said, is entitled to their opinion.
But the Football Association said the match against the United States was an opportunity to "honour" the 33-year-old's "record-breaking global career".
Rooney's inclusion in Gareth Southgate's England squad has been heavily criticised by fans and members of the media alike, with questions being asked as to whether Rooney has done enough to warrant the call up. "I'm not making any demands, my message to Gareth was "you get what you need out of me and when you feel it's right to bring me on that's fine for me". "We were going to do a game before the World Cup but it was not the right timing. You play your best football and best performances when you're enjoying playing and winning". Personally I didn't think it was right to get in the way of that.
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"It is a huge honour in your career, the biggest honour to play for your country and represent them in major tournaments".
A host of former internationals, including Peter Shilton, Paul Ince and Stuart Pearce, have claimed Rooney's substitute appearance cheapens the honour of winning an England cap.
Rooney's return has already made an impact at the Wembley ticket office, with more than 20,000 tickets sold since his appearance was confirmed earlier this month.
"With England it is the same thing, when I look at their roster there is so much quality and so much depth - they seem to be in a good spot in terms of choices so they have done a great job with transitioning and moving guys along".
Now 33, Rooney concedes that the pressure to succeed for England meant playing for his country was not always enjoyable - something he does not expect to be the case this week.
".It'll be great to pull on the England shirt again in front of the fans, in nearly a way of me saying "thank you" to the fans for the support you've shown me over my time playing for England".