Wayne Rooney says that his farewell match against the United States is a ‘huge honour’, and hopes he will be the first of many players to receive such a tribute.
Rooney, England’s all-time record goalscorer, will make his final international appearance – his first in over two years – against the USA on Thursday.
“It’s a huge honour for the Football Association to grant me this game,” said Rooney, as quoted by the Guardian.
“Playing at Wembley again is a way for me to be able to say thank you to the fans for all the support they’ve given me over the last 15 years.” https://t.co/XX5S9lrs1p
— England (@England) 13 November 2018
“To play and be involved in the squad, see some old team-mates and Gareth Southgate, and some of the coaching staff, will be a great moment.
“To pull on the England jersey again in front of the fans will be a way of me to say thank you for the support they’ve shown me over my time playing for England.”
The decision to give Rooney one last call-up has attracted criticism from some quarters, but Southgate has defended the decision and Rooney says it could be a trendsetter for deserving players.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinions,” Rooney said. “The most important thing is that we both felt it was the right decision.
“I think as a country we haven’t done anything like this before, I hope that in 10-15 years we are sat here for somebody else, say Harry Kane, somebody who could go on and get the scoring record.
“I think the FA are trying to move in a different direction and celebrate the players who have made an impact for their country. It will divide opinion because it’s the first one, but hopefully there will be more.”
Southgate has confirmed that Rooney will not start the match, he will not wear the captain’s armband and, contrary to reports, he will not wear the number 10 shirt which now belongs to Raheem Sterling.