Rooney deserves England farewell – Neville

The former Manchester United forward will win his 120th and final cap for the Three Lions at Wembley against the USMNT as he says goodbye to fans

Gary Neville insists former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney deserves his England send-off.

Rooney is set to win his 120th cap as a substitute when Gareth Southgate’s team host the U.S. national team in a friendly on Thursday night.

The match is being billed as ‘The Wayne Rooney Foundation International’ and will benefit his charity foundation.

Some have questioned why the D.C. United forward, 33, is being honoured in such a way, but Neville, who won 85 England caps, says the country’s record goalscorer deserves his farewell at Wembley Stadium.

“I’m surprised it has happened as I thought it was the type of thing that Gareth would not allow,” he told Sky Sports.

“But what I would say is that 18 months ago, I think it was March 2017 when Wayne was first left out, that was the time to pick him and do the farewell.

“I’m happy for him personally as I think he absolutely loves England and he has been a great player for England, and I am looking forward to the game because of the fact that the fans will welcome it in the last 10 minutes.

“But I am surprised a little bit. I’m quite neutral on it – I’m not like some who thinks it is an absolute disgrace, I do not, as I think Wayne Rooney deserved that send-off 18 months ago. It is just that the FA have got the timing wrong.”

Neville does not agree that Rooney’s presence – which will likely come as a late second-half sub – will deny younger players an opportunity.

“Wayne Rooney was in the squad for so many years, he was an inspiration to young players,” he added. “You look at some of those young players who will turn up and I bet he is the one player they are looking forward to being around.”

Rooney, who has scored 53 goals in 119 England appearances, said: “It’s a huge honour for the Football Association to grant me this game.

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“It’s an important game because there will be money raised for children’s charities.

“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 for me to say thank you for the support they’ve shown me over my time playing for England.”


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