I like Wayne Rooney I really do.
His patriotism can’t be called into question. Like David Beckham, Rooney was an overrated talent, but they’d both leave nothing on the pitch when representing England.
For that he deserves respect and admiration. What he doesn’t deserve is one extra international cap as a reward for long service and charity work.
England caps shouldn’t be granted so lightly. If you can’t get into the team on merit then tough. I have no problem with Rooney receiving the acclaim of the Wembley crowd one last time, but he doesn’t have to play for that to happen.
A cap for Rooney now would be so devalued as to be worthless. He’s won 119 caps already. He doesn’t need another one.
Rooney will also be denying a bigger and better talent the chance to gain experience in an England shirt in a relatively easy game against the United States.
Phil Foden should play ahead of Rooney. It would make a nice change, and be rather more informative, for one of the brightest talents in England to start a game rather than come on when Manchester City are 4-0 up.
Does Rooney now also play ahead of Marcus Rashford, another in need of more regular gametime?
England’s last international outing delivered a great result and a top performance as Spain were deservedly beaten 3-2 on their own turf.
It was the most promising England display I can remember and one achieved by the youngest starting line-up for almost 60 years.
Coach Gareth Southgate’s big promise has been to build a young, exciting team capable of travelling far in the biggest tournaments.
Why would you abandon that pledge even for one game? Especially as it looks like it might work.
I’m finding it hard to believe Southgate has embraced Rooney’s return, especially as one of the coach’s most impressive early decisions was to remove an ageing warrior from his squad. That decision wasn’t universally popular
To me it looks like Southgate has been overruled by marketing bods desperate to wring a few extra quid from supporters for a game of extremely limited appeal.
The USA friendly takes place a few days before England host Croatia in a Nations League match. England’s preparations for a competitive game shouldn’t involve a past-it performer taking a final curtain call.
Those who will pay inflated prices for a friendly match deserve to see Raheem Sterling sprinting down the wing rather than Rooney, who chose to retire from international football remember, plodding around up top.
I’m also worried this decision might encourage other big headed, self promoting stars of the past to try and secure a farewell England appearance.
I’m confident walking ego Gary Lineker’s representatives are working on a way to get him to 50 England goals so he can tweet endlessly about it.