USA boss happy to include Rooney

Updated: 26/05/2022

Wayne Rooney is set to make a special one-off return to the England squad on Thursday night, when the Three Lions take on the USA. The 33-year-old, who retired from international football last year, has been in fine form for DC United over the last few months, guiding the MLS club from the bottom of the Eastern Conference all the way to the playoffs.

While Thursday's match between England and the USA is being billed as a friendly, the shock inclusion of former England skipper Wayne Rooney has sparked a nationwide debate. The fixture is in many ways a fitting farewell to the player that currently holds the record as the Three Lions top goalscorer, but while some have welcomed the decision to honour Rooney, others have suggested that the 33-year-old's inclusion has devalued the international cap.

One of the most prominent figures to speak out against the fixture has been England's record appearance-maker Peter Shilton, who argued that England caps should not be “given out like gifts”.

USA interim manger Dave Sarachan has taken a more positive stance, claiming that Rooney's recent performances have given him a right to return to the international stage. “It's not like Wayne retired and is just coming back after two years off. He's coming off a terrific season in the States with DC United and is in good form.” said Sarachan “I think every federation should reward players who have had a great history with the team, whether it's giving them a game or other ways.”

“It's been what I thought it would be like with a guy like Wayne Rooney.” he added.

“He didn't come over for a vacation – he came to win. He was in good form, stayed healthy and had a terrific impact on his team and our league. He could have mailed it in, but didn't.”

“I wouldn't say it cheapens the fixture at all. Every player's mindset will be the same, we all want to win. “Rooney's a legend, he's achieved so much in his career, so it's only fitting.

“On merit, you could say he's had such a good season in MLS that he might have got a call up anyway, if he wasn't retired.”

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