Matt Dunham/Associated Press
D.C. United and former Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney will come out of international retirement to make one more appearance for England, a farewell performance against the United States at Wembley.
The Three Lions confirmed the news via Twitter:
We’re proud to announce that our upcoming game against the USA will support @FoundationWR, with @WayneRooney set to join the #ThreeLions squad for the match: https://t.co/Yz85XR2fRR
According to BBC Sport’s Simon Stone the 33-year-old hasn’t played for the Three Lions since November 2016. England and USA are scheduled to meet on November 15.
Rooney would earn his 120th cap for England if he faced the Stars and Stripes. Proceeds of the match are set to be donated to the Wayne Rooney Foundation, and the WembleyArch will even be lit in the colours of the charity, per Stone.
There’s some confusion over whether or not the team’s record scorer will wear the captain’s armband. The Mirror‘s John Cross doesn’t believe so and wasn’t a fan of the return to begin with:
John Cross @johncrossmirror
I really like Rooney, terrific career, nice to get a farewell but don’t agree with it. It’s a friendly but people can never tell us again that it’s wrong to call friendlies meaningless if someone can get a late swansong…
The Sun‘s Mike McGrath reported he will be the skipper, however.
The plan to have Rooney return for a one-off performance created division in the BBC 5 Live studio:
BBC 5 Live Sport on BBC Sounds @5liveSport
“Wayne Rooney did not get a proper England send-off” @akeemojuko says the England top goal scorer deserves to play one last game, but @benhainess disagrees… 💻 Watch – https://t.co/zRWLSBZHQX 📻 Listen – https://t.co/9eC466QFki #TheSquad https://t.co/Zfslh8wHqi
It’s worth pointing out Rooney has been in excellent form since making the switch to MLS, with 12 goals in 20 appearances for DC United. He’s also contributed seven assists, making him one of England’s most prolific forwards this season.
Harry Kane is the unquestioned top option up front for the Three Lions, but his regular back-ups include Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck and Jamie Vardy. None of those three have passed the five-goal mark in the Premier League this year.
Rooney was a regular part of the national team setup until the disappointing Euro 2016 tournament and told reporters he planned on retiring after the 2018 World Cup shortly after, per the Press Association (for the Guardian).
New manager Gareth Southgate didn’t call him up after a match against Scotland in November of that year, however, and in the summer of 2017, Rooney announced his retirement, per BBC Sport.
A youthful English side surpassed expectations this year by making it to the semi-finals of the World Cup, eventually claiming fourth place.
Rooney’s 53 goals are most in national team history, four more than the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton.