Southgate bemoans 'strange country' after Rooney reaction

Jo Caldwell
November 9, 2018

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

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. This is a chance for not only a great player, but an iconic player and top goalscorer. He was a fantastic player for England and it's fine by me if we want to celebrate his achievements.

The 33-year-old Rooney, now playing in Major League Soccer with DC United, has not played for England in nearly two years.

"We're a unusual country in that we bemoan the fact that 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're spending a lot of time justifying giving him that tribute".

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"I've not spoken to Gareth (Southgate) too much about how he's going to do it when we play but it'll be great to see him again and I'm sure he's looking forward to seeing a few of the boys".

Rooney will not be a part of England's squad for a Nations League clash against Croatia at Wembley three days after the United States game.

"I understand it's caused a lot of debate and conjecture, but it's a way of appreciating what he's given". I thought the Podolski situation was a super night.

"If we're also talking about helping young players develop in the global set-up, then surely celebrating Wayne's career in this way is an example to the next generation of England stars".

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"There have been ongoing discussions since Wayne retired about paying tribute to him and his England career", Southgate said.

"Now we have the opportunity at Wembley to pay that tribute".

"The last game he played, when he came on, Jordan Henderson ran over and gave him the armband as soon as he ran on the pitch", he said.

"He's been involved with either scoring or assists, with a high number of goals this season, so it's a good opportunity for us to have a look at him and see how he fits into what we do, and for him to get a feel of working with the senior team". If I had been a player, and had given what those guys had given, I'd have walked away from there feeling my association have really recognised me in a fitting way.

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