Wayne Rooney to return for England farewell vs. U.S. at Wembley
Wayne Rooney will win his 120th England cap later this month after Gareth Southgate sanctioned a farewell appearance for the DC United forward against the United States at Wembley on Nov. 15, the English Football Association (FA) has announced.
The former Manchester United and Everton captain -- England's all-time leading scorer with 53 goals -- has not represented his country since lining up against Scotland at Wembley in November 2016.
Rooney, 33, who had by that stage lost his regular starting spot at United under Jose Mourinho, was then omitted from a series of squads by manager Southgate before announcing his international retirement in August 2017, having initially targeted this year's World Cup in Russia as his swansong.
But with Rooney ending his England career having made more appearances than any other outfield player, as well as eclipsing Sir Bobby Charlton's record of England goals, Southgate and the FA have agreed to give Rooney the honour of a farewell appearance, at the same time as handing supporters the opportunity to show their appreciation of the former England captain.
The game against the U.S. -- three days before the decisive Nations League clash with Croatia at Wembley -- has been designated as a charity fundraiser by the FA. Some of the monies raised will go towards the Wayne Rooney Foundation.
Sources had told ESPN FC of the plans on Sunday, and later in the day the FA said in a statement: "England's fixture against the USA is to be called The Wayne Rooney Foundation International in support of the legend's charitable interests."
The statement added: "Following this FA initiative, the Wembley crowd will now get the chance to show their appreciation of one of England's greats as the curtain comes down on a glittering Three Lions career that spanned three FIFA World Cups and three UEFA European Championships."
Despite Rooney's impressive form in the MLS since moving to DC United in July, where he helped the team into the playoffs after scoring 12 goals in 21 games, his return to the England set-up is purely on a one-off basis, sources have told ESPN FC.
Rooney will be presented with an award in recognition of his contribution before the game, but sources have told ESPN FC that he will not play the full 90 minutes and that he will not be considered for the game against Croatia.
Rooney's MLS season is now over after the team's defeat in the knockout round against Columbus Crew last week, but he told ESPN last month that he will not seek a loan move back to Europe during the closed season, opting instead to focus on the start of the 2019 MLS season next March.