Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Gareth Southgate Sternly Defends Wayne Rooney's England Inclusion

Gareth Southgate Sternly Defends Wayne Rooney's England Inclusion

Rooney is also named in the squad but will only feature in the game against the States as it was revealed last week that the match will be named "The Wayne Rooney Foundation International" in honour of the former Manchester United strikers' charity.

Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson is earning plenty of plaudits and only Sergio Aguero, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eden Hazard boast more than the six Premier League goals he has scored this season.

Then, to seemingly appease some sections of English fans, the FA have also stated that Rooney, who previously turned down Southgate's opportunity of a recall, will not start nor be wear the captain's armband.

The England manager remains adamant that the occasion will not devalue the shirt and also described as "strange" the divisive debate that has surrounded Rooney's involvement, which the forward felt would not be appropriate in the friendly against Nigeria on the eve of the World Cup.

Southgate did not rule out the possibility of the former England captain wearing the armband again.

"Yes, of course [I will]", Kane said.

Rooney will meet up with the squad on Monday, but will leave after the USA game and before the Nations League fixture against Croatia, with Southgate dismissive when questioned whether the former captain should be taking a full part in training.

"We talk to them a lot about that they have the shirt now but it is not their shirt, great players have worn it before them and great players will wear it after them", Southgate added.

"We will look at all the players we want to look at", he said. We can't do anything about how we've done it in the past, but I know how much it meant to the squad of '66 to come to St George's Park a few months ago and have a dinner when we mentioned the entrance after Sir Alf Ramsey. There's players who have either been with us who I feel need to play to make sure they feel valued.

World Cup runners-up Croatia are in last place in League A Group 4, having played a game less than group leaders Spain and England. The US game is the first chance since then to host such a game.

Fabian Delph, Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard return from injuries, while Ross Barkley's continued form at Chelsea earns him his second call-up in a row.

Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard and Fabian Delph are all back in the 28-man group after missing the October fixtures through injury, while Southgate has also made a decision to take another look at Everton defender Michael Keane. You can come on with two minutes to go because you need a change; I've played when we've changed the whole team at half-time.

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