Lukas Podolski: Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney deserves England farewell

by Leo Nieboer

Former Arsenal and Germany striker Lukas Podolski believes that Wayne Rooney deserves a farewell game at Wembley to commemorate his England career.

Podolski was handed a farewell game to mark the end of a career spanning 13 years that saw him claim 49 goals against England on Wednesday – a game in which he fittingly scored the winner.

Rooney announced earlier this season that he would retire from the national side following the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

And Podolski, speaking after his last ever international appearance, expressed his hope that Rooney would receive the same kind of send-off.

“I hope he gets one. He is one of the greatest in England,” he said. 

“I don’t know if it’s traditional in England to give someone a farewell game, but when I am England boss or the president I will say ‘Wayne, next week you’ve got a game.”

The likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Michael Owen and David Beckham – all supposed England greats – never received a teary send-off from the public before retiring, mainly because, unlike Podolski, they never actually won anything, nor even produced anything of note.

They enjoyed successful club careers, received a chance to play for England, enjoyed a few good games, went to a few international tournaments, failed, came back and repeated the process. The same pattern can be applied to, say, Matt Upson or Stewart Downing if you think about it.

Rooney, however, does indeed deserve some special recognition. His status as England’s all-time top goalscorer speaks for itself, and it would be unjust for the FA to ignore such a monumental achievement.

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