Southgate bemoans 'strange country' after Rooney reaction

Ruben Holloway
November 9, 2018

Next week's match will be called The Wayne Rooney Foundation International in support of the striker's children's charity, and England coach Gareth Southgate has named Rooney in the squad.

As soon as the announcement of Rooney's return to the squad was announced a number of fans were curious whether he will get to wear the captain's armband.

"I've worked with Wayne, played with Wayne, and he doesn't get recognised for what ability he still has and did have at his peak".

The 33-year-old Rooney had also been England captain, but in his retirement Southgate's youthful team created a new identity with Harry Kane as its new leader.

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Naming a 28-strong squad, Southgate also handed a first call-up to Bournemouth's in-form striker Callum Wilson, a recall to Everton defender Michael Keane, and retained Dortmund's Jadon Sancho.

"We talk to them a lot about that they have the shirt now but it is not their shirt, great players have worn it before them and great players will wear it after them", Southgate added. "So if he plays, of course he'll be the captain".

Rooney, a record goalscorer for both Manchester United and England, retired from worldwide football in August 2017.

"It's a really good thing that everyone should be a part of". "Wayne was one of our greatest ever England players".

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I don't think we have been brilliant at that over the years.

The 33-year-old, who now plays for DC United in Major League Soccer, has not represented the Three Lions in nearly two years. "With this opportunity, it is possible and I am sure the crowd will give him the opportunity he deserves".

"That lineage and heritage of the shirt and the team is important to me because I think whether you join a club or (play for) your country you need to know the history of that shirt and the importance of it - then you are not playing for the name on the back but for the crest on the front". I think he's earned the right to that cap over a period of over 10 years, six major tournaments and being our record goalscorer.

"We are a unusual country in that we bemoan the fact we haven't achieved as much as we'd like and then we have a player who should be held in the highest regard and we are spending a lot of time justifying giving him that tribute".

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