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Southgate defends Rooney tribute

Southgate defends Rooney tribute

08 Nov 2018, 19:30

England Manager Wayne Rooney has defended his decision to honour Wayne Rooney with a cap when the team takes on the USA in a UEFA Nations League match on Thursday 15th November.

The retired Rooney will earn his 120th cap for the Three Lions while proceeds from the match will be donated to the Wayne Rooney Foundation and Southgate says this is to honour him for his service to the country.

"There have been ongoing discussions since Wayne Rooney retired about paying tribute to him and his England career, which has been phenomenal in terms of the number of matches he played and being our record goal scorer,” Southgate said while naming his squad,

"Those discussions started over 12 months ago. I was quite happy for the tribute to be before the World Cup but Wayne did not want to detract from the team at that time, so now we have the opportunity to pay that tribute."

Southgate emphasized the need for former players to feel appreciated by the current regime.

"I am still able to look to the future in terms of the squad we have picked. But also I have talked a lot to the players about the importance of the shirt, the history of the shirt, honouring the former players, and I think all the players would respect that Wayne's contribution deserves the best possible send-off.

"I understand that has caused debate but for me, it is a small way of appreciating what he has given to his country."

No starting berth 

He also revealed Rooney won’t start the match but will play some minutes.

 "He won't wear number 10 because he won't start the game. When he came on in his last game, Jordan Henderson ran over and gave him the (captain's) armband. I guess that it (captaincy) will depend on the circumstances of the game and the players who are out there but I have no issue with that."

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