Photo: Wayne Rooney arrives at St George’s ahead of England farewell appearance

by Leo Nieboer

Wayne Rooney looked in joyous spirits as he arrived at St George’s Park ahead of his farewell England appearance against the United States on Thursday.

The Manchester United and England all-time top goalscorer last appeared for his country in September 2016 during a 3-0 win over Scotland.

It was confirmed earlier this month that Gareth Southgate would give Rooney, now excelling for DC United in the MLS, a chance for a proper send-off against the United States. All proceeds from the friendly match will go to the newly formed ‘Wayne Rooney Foundation’.

And the 33-year-old looked in good spirits as he once again arrived at St George’s Park.

It is quite strange to think that the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Phil Jones have already encountered more success on the international stage than the supposed ‘golden’ generation of Rooney, Lampard, Owen, Beckham and Gerrard.

Such a notion underscores that Rooney, throughout his England career, was mismanaged on a fundamental as well as tactical level for too long.

And yet, somehow, amid all the tumult that existed alongside his England career, from stepping on Cristiano Ronaldo’s testicles to Sam Allardyce, Rooney became England’s all-time leading scorer, doing the same thing for England’s most successful club as well.

He is a player whose talent and drive deserves enormous respect.

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