Rooney looking sharp in England training return


Wayne Rooney's one-off return for the English national team has caused plenty of uproar but the Three Lions legend is focused on one thing: saying thanks.

England manager Gareth Southgate said last week he was yet to decide when in the second half Rooney will come on, but added it would be before fans start "heading for the tube".

Speaking to reporters from England's St. George's Park training base on Tuesday, the current D.C. United striker believes this will be the ideal chance for him to say goodbye and he will wear the captains armband with pride if the opportunity arrives.

"No, I think I made the decision to obviously go to the States and I intend to stick with that", he said.

"Obviously it's a huge honour for the FA to grant me this game".

Whatever your stance on Rooney's return to action for England and whether or not it diminishes the value of a cap or this friendly altogether, you can't argue that he doesn't deserve a special sendoff.

Such a notion underscores that Rooney, throughout his England career, was mismanaged on a fundamental as well as tactical level for too long.

"Everyone's entitled to their opinion. They proved me wrong by doing so well in this World Cup".

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Rooney insisted he has no regrets on retiring from global football a year before the World Cup, but admitted even he was surprised at how quickly Southgate's squad matured into contenders to be world champions. "You play your best football and best performances when you're enjoying playing and winning". Personally I didn't think it was right to get in the way of that.

Rooney's return has already made an impact at the Wembley ticket office, with more than 20,000 tickets sold since his appearance was confirmed earlier this month.

England's all-time men's goals leader came to MLS in July, lifting DC United from the bottom of the table to the playoffs in his first campaign.

Southgate is expected to give his first-choice players some rest against the United Stated ahead of a Nations League clash against Croatia on Sunday.

Not long after arriving back in England from Washington, the former Manchester United captain met up with his global team-mates at the Football Association base, some of whom were only children when Rooney made his worldwide debut in 2003. The odds on him to score at any time against the country where he now plays his club soccer stand at around 21/20 with the United Kingdom bookmakers.

"It's not important", Rooney said.

"Raheem Sterling in the last couple of years has been fantastic".