Gareth Southgate has defended the decision to meet Wayne Rooney against the USA next Thursday and said the record scorer deserves its toll, despite criticism that his presence is devaluing an international cap.
Rooney, who played the last of his 119 England internationals in November 2016, was joined on Thursday by a 28-man squad along with Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson, who first received a call-up, and Everton defender Michael Keane named.
Southgate confirmed that Rooney would play in the Wembley team as a substitute, but would not wear the team or his usual No. 10 jersey. The England coach said he was surprised by the negative reaction to Roony's involvement, but cited the example of Lukas Podolski, who was similarly honored by Germany last year against Southgate.
"It's a shame, because we want it to be an appropriate tribute to a great player who is often undervalued, I think, in terms of his performance for England," he said.
"That's a disappointment. But by the time we get to the game and he's with us next week, the focus is on: "Actually, we want to think about what he did and how well he played. Here's an opportunity to thank him. "And then we can decide if it was right to play him or not.
"I understand the debate about it. I found the Podolski situation a super night. If I had been a player and given what these guys had given me, I would have walked away from there feeling that my association really recognized me correctly.
"We are a strange country in which we complain that we have not achieved as much as we want, and then we have a player of the highest esteem, and we spend a lot of time justifying it Tribute."
Rooney will not be involved in the national league match against Croatia for a week on Sunday, and Southgate was relentless. He opted for an above-average squad that ensured no-one was missed in his plans. Mason Mount and James Maddison were not included due to injury.
"We'll look at all the players we want to watch," he said. "We have named additional names and still have to survive the weekend in numbers, but there is no one else. We have to deal with the U21 pros because they have a competition next summer. The more we bring them up, the less enthusiastic they are when it comes to going down again. We wanted to look at the players we brought up. "
Wilson, whose only international international made their U-21 victories in a 20-minute cameo for Southgate in 2014, was rewarded with six Premier League goals for a brilliant start to the season. Keane, who made his Germany debut against Germany last year, is recalled after impressive form, with Harry Maguire from Leicester injured.
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