Rooney to captain England during farewell appearance

England’s record goal scorer Wayne Rooney will captain the side and wear the number 10 shirt when he comes on to make his farewell appearance.

Rooney, 33, retired from international football in 2017 but will win his 120th and final cap in a friendly against the United States at Wembley on Thursday.

Fabian Delph will start the match as captain but will hand the armband to Rooney when the DC United striker comes on as a substitute in the second half.

Rooney will also get a guard of honour.

The former Manchester United and Everton forward initially ended his international career with 119 caps and a record 53 goals.

But the Football Association sees Thursday’s match as an opportunity to “honour” his “record-breaking international career”.

Rooney will leave the squad before they face Croatia in the Nations League at Wembley on Sunday.

Manchester City player Delph said: “When I first came into the England set-up, Wayne was captain. He welcomed me and put his arm around and made me feel at home.

“As soon as he comes on, I will give him the armband back.

“It is going to be a huge night for Wayne and it is important we honour him for all of his achievements.”

Rooney’s inclusion was criticised by England’s record appearance-maker Peter Shilton, who said caps should not be “given out like gifts”.

Former goalkeeper Shilton, who made 125 international appearances, said he was “surprised” Southgate had allowed the one-off return.

Rooney said he would not have agreed to play had it impacted the legacy of others, such as by “taking the record off Shilton”.

Southgate, who won 57 caps, said: “It’s been disappointing to see him have to defend his inclusion.

“He is very different to run-of-the-mill players like me who played for England. I spoke to the under-15s last week and they are so early in their development but he was around the senior squad when he was 17.

“I know a big regret for him was that the team didn’t get to where he wanted but when you look at the pressure he had to deal with individually, it is an incredible career.

“Hopefully he has felt that warmth from all of us and I know the reaction of the supporters will be very special to him.”

Rooney left Everton to join DC United in June and led the club to the MLS play-offs with 12 goals in 21 games.


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