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.
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.
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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