Rooney says goodbye but England say hello to future

England great Wayne Rooney got a heartfelt send-off and first-hand glimpse of the future as debutant Callum Wilson completed a comfortable win for Gareth Southgate’s experimental side against the United States.

Focus on number 10 switched from Downing Street to Wembley on Thursday evening as the Three Lions’ all-time top scorer and most capped outfield player brought the curtain down on his international career once and for all.

Rooney received a warm reception before and after coming on for his 120th appearance for England, who prepared for Sunday’s crunch Nations League clash with Croatia by beating the USA 3-0 thanks to goals from Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Wilson.

Rooney was given an extended run out
Rooney was given an extended run out (Nick Potts/PA)

The latter wrapped up victory on a night that also saw Lewis Dunk and Alex McCarthy make their international bows, with 18-year-old Jadon Sancho handed his first start as the Three Lions looked to the future while also paying tribute to one of their greatest players.

Rooney received a standing ovation when brought on in the 58th minute of a match that Southgate’s men were already in control of thanks to a fine Lingard effort and Alexander-Arnold’s first goal for his country.

There was to be no fairytale farewell goal for the 33-year-old, but he was first to celebrate with Wilson after the debutant scored the third on a night that saw the DC United forward impress against the country he now calls home.

England’s Callum Wilson (right) celebrates scoring with Rooney
England’s Callum Wilson (right) celebrates scoring with Rooney (Nick Potts/PA)

His appearance in this friendly may have split opinion in the build-up, but there can be no doubt that the support for the Wayne Rooney Foundation and chance for fans to say thanks was only positive.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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