England squad: Gareth Southgate launches passionate defence of Wayne Rooney call-up

England squad: Gareth Southgate launches passionate defence of Wayne Rooney call-up

Gareth Southgate confirms Wayne Rooney will not start for England against USA

Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson has received his first senior international call-up for Englands games against the United States and Croatia.

Former England captain and record goalscorer Wayne Rooney has been included for the US friendly only.

“As a manager, my involvement was was I happy for him to play a part in the game and I think actually, yes. I am still able to look to the future in terms of the squad Ive picked and the things I want to see but also Ive talked a lot to the players about the importance of the shirt, the history and honouring former players.

England news: Gareth Southgate bemoans strange country for Wayne Rooney recall reaction

England play USA on Thursday, 15 November before hosting Croatia in the Nations League the following Sunday.

“From my point of view, I am looking forward to seeing him, working with him over the next few days, giving him the send-off I think he deserves, which isnt always possible for players. With this opportunity, it is possible and I am sure the crowd will give him the opportunity he deserves.”

Midfielders Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard return after missing the last round of internationals through injury, with Mason Mount and James Maddison dropping out of the squad.

Peter Shilton, the only player with more England caps than Rooney, described the move as “completely wrong”, while former striker Alan Shearer said the call reduced the game, a warm-up for a Nations League clash with Croatia, to a “testimonial”.

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Winger Jadon Sancho, 18, retains his place, while uncapped trio – Brighton centre-back Lewis Dunk, Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli and Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy – have been called-up again.

But the one time I wondered if it might have some value is in the reaction, by some members of the football press, to Wayne Rooney being given a one-off and unprecedented international testimonial game, against the United States at Wembley next Thursday.

Danny Welbeck is included but he suffered an ankle injury in Arsenals Europa League game against Sporting on Thursday and could now miss the Three Lions matches.

Rooney, 33, will win his 120th and final England cap as he comes out of international retirement for the game against the US at Wembley which will raise money for the Wayne Rooney Foundation.

The DC United forward, who has scored 53 international goals and made his last international appearance in a 3-0 victory over Scotland in November 2016, will be used as a second-half substitute.

The former captains one-off return for the Wayne Rooney Foundation international against the US will dominate the managers press conference this afternoon but Southgate is again planning to select a youthful party with Jadon Sancho and James Maddison keeping their places.

England boss Gareth Southgate said discussions about paying tribute to Rooney started 12 months ago and the player declined the opportunity to be honoured before the World Cup.

“I am still able to look to the future with the squad weve picked, but weve talked a lot about the history of the shirt,” he said. “I think all the players respect Waynes contribution and that he deserves the best possible send-off.”

Former England Under-21s striker Wilson has been rewarded for his form this season, scoring six Premier League goals.

Ive not spoken to him since he was ambassador for the Under-17s finals [in April]. We had a good discussion there but we havent directly discussed this [recall], Southgate said. Theres no particular agenda to me not speaking to him, lets make that officially clear. I dont think Wayne has been involved in all those discussions and I dont need to be involved in all those discussions, frankly.

“Hes a threat in terms of running in behind defences,” said Southgate. Hes been involved with either scoring or assists, with a high number of goals this season, so its 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.”

Southgate suggested that the England players had welcomed the decision to recall Rooney. I think the team respect what he did and I think it is important they respect what the players did in the past, Southgate said. The Football Association has insisted that naming the US fixture after the Wayne Rooney Foundation was not designed to sell more tickets – although sales have risen from 45,000 to about 60,000.

Englands record appearance-maker is former keeper Peter Shilton, with 125 appearances for his country.

Southgate said that giving Rooney a tribute match had been mooted a year ago and there was a plan to honour him at the June friendly against Nigeria before the World Cup. However, Southgate said that Rooney himself had vetoed this as he did not want to detract from Englands preparations. The US game is the first chance since then to host such a game.

He said caps should not be “given out like gifts” and that he was “surprised” Southgate had allowed Rooneys inclusion.

Players like James Maddison and Mason Mount miss out despite impressive showings on the club front but another big winner is Danny Welbeck. The Arsenal centre-forward’s repeated recalls are a controversial subject, and he has bagged just one goal in the Premier League this season. Welbeck’s gain is also Reiss Nelsons loss. The young forward has been in tremendous form since heading from the Emirates to Hoffenheim on loan. He has bagged himself five goals in six Bundesliga appearances this season and will feel hard done by not to make the squad, though there is plenty of time for the 18-year-old to make his mark. Jadon Sancho is another winner. The hotshot keeps his place in the side, much to the delight of his growing fan base. He looked lively in his first appearances and will be aiming to build on that in these two fixtures for the Three Lions.

“You can come on with two minutes to go because you need a change – Ive played when weve changed the whole team at half-time.

Callum Wilson earns first England call-up in 28-man squad including Wayne Rooney

“Were a strange country in that we bemoan the fact we havent achieved as much as we like, and then we have a player who should be held in the highest regard and were justifying including him.

Goalkeepers: Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Alex McCarthy (Southampton), Jordan Pickford (Everton).

“There have been ongoing discussions since Wayne retired about paying tribute to him and his England career,” said the manager, who added Rooney had declined an opportunity to be honoured ahead of the World Cup so as not to take the attention away from those going to Russia.

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Lewis Dunk (Brighton ), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

England manager Gareth Southgate defends giving Wayne Rooney a final cap

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Harry Winks (Tottenham).

Rooney was named in Southgate’s 28-man squad to face the USA and Croatia later this month, with the former England captain only featuring in the first game.

Callum Wilson: Bournemouth striker has overcome incredible setbacks

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (DC United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth).

3:49 Gareth Southgate insists he was happy with the decision to give Wayne Rooney a one-off England recall Gareth Southgate insists he was happy with the decision to give Wayne Rooney a one-off England recall Wayne Rooney will not start for England against the United States but Gareth Southgate says he was happy to hand him a one-off call-up.

Wayne Rooney will captain England against US, says Harry Kane

Talks about Rooney, 33, coming out of international retirement to receive his 120th cap have been ongoing for a year, Southgate confirmed, but the striker did not want his appearance to distract players ahead of the World Cup.

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