Focus on Wayne Rooney’s England farewell

For the 120th and final time Wayne Rooney pulled on an England shirt as his country commemorated a sparkling career.

The Three Lions’ record goalscorer came on in the 58th minute of the ‘Wayne Rooney Foundation International’ against the United States at Wembley.

Here, Football Paradise details how Rooney’s night panned out.

Pre-match attraction

Wayne Rooney received a plaque from Harry Kane before kick-off
Wayne Rooney received a plaque from Harry Kane before kick-off (Nick Potts/PA)

With the former Manchester United and Everton striker starting on the bench his first moment in the spotlight came before kick-off as he was given a guard of honour by both teams. Rooney, with his four children, walked out on to the pitch where he was presented with a commemorative plaque by Football Association chairman Greg Clarke and captain Harry Kane. Wembley was far from full but those in attendance rang out the famous ‘Rooney’ chant which has echoed around the national stadium many times.

Getting a front-row view

ERooney sings the national anthem
Rooney sings the national anthem (Nick Potts/PA)

After receiving another rousing reception when he trotted down the touchline to warm-up, Rooney got a great view of England’s second goal. After Jadon Sancho played Trent Alexander-Arnold in down the right and the Liverpool full-back fired into the bottom corner, the young Three Lions came over to the corner in front of where Rooney was to celebrate. The veteran approved, giving the defender, who hails from the other side of Stanley Park, a round of applause.

England’s number 10

There had been plenty of conjecture about exactly what point Rooney would make his introduction, but it was probably earlier than most people would have predicted. Following a flat start to the second half, the DC United talisman came on for Jesse Lingard in the 58th minute. It brought the biggest cheer of the night as he received a standing ovation and high-fives and backslaps from his team-mates. Fabian Delph, who stayed on the pitch, made his way over to the touchline to hand the 33-year-old the armband.

An unexpected thank you

A pitch invader runs over to Rooney
A pitch invader runs over to Rooney (Nick Potts/PA)

Little over 10 minutes into his appearance, Rooney was given a surprise, but not necessarily one he will have wanted. After another lull in proceedings a spectator invaded the pitch and made his way over to Rooney. He gave him an appreciative slap on the shoulder before being carted off by a steward.

A familiar role

This England side has changed a lot since Rooney last played and their style is unrecognisable from the one that used to be built around him. But the Liverpudlian slotted into a familiar deep-lying role where he tried – and succeeded – to dictate play. The whole nation was willing him to get on the scoresheet and he was twice denied by Brad Guzan – the second was a smart low stop – but the football gods were not playing ball for him. His tally, as impressive as it is, will stay on 53.

The last goodbye

After hugs with his team-mates at the full-time whistle, Rooney embarked on a lap of honour of the Wembley turf, with fans staying behind to show their appreciation. He did a pitchside TV interview, before heading down the tunnel for one last time.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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