How does Wayne Rooney describe his England career?
"Some good games, some bad games," he says.
Enough good ones that he's been capped 119 times -- more than any
English player except goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who retired with 125 caps.
Rooney will play one last time for England Thursday when it hosts the USA at Wembley Stadium -- but it's
a move that has not been universally approved.
Shilton claimed Rooney's return was “devaluing" an England call-up. Stuart Pearce, who played 78 times for England and was
interim England coach in 2012, said it “cheapened" an international cap.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Rooney said he understood the criticism and would have not agreed to the farewell appearance if the cap meant infringing on
Shilton's record or that of another field player.
"Everyone's entitled to their opinion," Rooney said. "The most important thing is, speaking to the FA, we thought it was right, and the
players I've spoken to think it's right. As a country, we haven't done anything like this before."
Special treatment. Rooney is
aware of how specially he's being treated.
“Whether people agree with it or not, it’s something that’s happening," he added. "Something the FA and a lot of people feel
is right. We all know a lot of the older players, players who won the World Cup, weren’t treated as well as they should have been.
“That’s through no fault of the
members of the FA or coaching staff today. The FA are trying to move in a different direction and celebrate the players who have made an impact for their country. It’ll be split opinions because
it’s the first one, but, hopefully, there’ll be a lot more in the future.”
He pointed to Harry Kane, his young successor in the England attack and as captain.
Rooney holds the England record with 53 goals. Kane, 25, has already scored 19 goals for his country in 34 appearances, putting him on pace to smash Rooney's record.
Rooney played his
last game for Scotland in November 2016 and retired in August 2017 after England coach Gareth Southgate called him up for England's World Cup qualifiers the next month.
later suggested that Rooney be called back in for a farewell game before the 2018 World Cup, but Rooney said he declined because he did not want the occasion to distract from England's
Committed to D.C. United. Rooney is coming off a sensational first season in MLS, leading D.C. United, last in the Eastern Conference when he arrived, into the playoffs. That
his return is against the USA is just a coincidence and not an indication he'll be playing for England again. He also shot down reports that he might be open to returning to England to play at the
"I made the decision to obviously go to the States," he said. "When I make a decision, I tend to stick to it. It's important that I give my full commitment to D.C."
Rooney also said it would not be fair to his four children to move them again.
“I’ve landed on my feet in the States and my children go to school there," he said. "It
wouldn’t be fair for me to be coming back and making them move again. I’ll finish my career there.”
Roster: GOALKEEPERS (4): Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham; 0/0), Jack Butland (Stoke City; 9/0), Alex McCarthy (Southampton; 0/0), Jordan Pickford (Everton; 13/0) DEFENDERS (9):
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool; 4/0), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City; 3/0), Lewis Dunk (Brighton; 0/0), Joe Gomez (Liverpool; 5/0), Michael Keane (Everton; 4/0), Luke Shaw (Man. United; 8/0),
John Stones (Manchester City; 36/2), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham; 16/1), Kyle Walker (Man. City; 43/0) MIDFIELDERS (8): Ross Barkley (Chelsea; 24/2), Dele Ali (Tottenham; 31/3), Fabian
Delph (Man. City; 16/0), Eric Dier (Tottenham; 36/3), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool; 47/0), Jesse Lingard (Man. United; 20/2), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea; 9/0), Harry Winks (Tottenham; 2/0)
FORWARDS (7): Harry Kane (Tottenham; 34/19), Marcus Rashford (Man. United; 29/6), Wayne Rooney (D.C. United; 119/53), Jadon Sancho (Bor. Dortmund/GER; 1/0), Raheem Sterling (Man. City; 46/4),
Danny Welbeck (Arsenal; 42/16), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth; 0/0) Note: In parentheses are caps and goals.