Former Players Can’t Come to Terms With England Doing Well: Wayne Rooney
Former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says that some of his former international teammates are jealous and unable to deal with the current England team’s success under Gareth Southgate.
Rooney, who made his 120th appearance against USA on Thursday at the Wembley, stayed away from naming anyone and said he had become a fan of the young team.
“I know there are some ex-players who I’ve spoken to who can’t come to terms with England doing well,” Rooney was quoted as saying by The Guardian. “That is wrong. I’m not like that. I’m a fan now. I want England to do well. I am proud to have played for England so many times and I always have been. I’ve had my time. I am happy with what I’ve contributed to the national team and I look forward now to the next few years and watching this team progress.”
England’s record goal-scorer, who has also played with the ‘Golden Generation’ of the Three Lions, firmly believes that Southgate’s side can do well consistently going forward.
“The team I played in had superstars, but this team has also got superstars,” the 33-year-old said.
“Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, John Stones – one of the best centre-backs in world football. England have got great players and they’ve also got young players.
“I think this is a great squad, with other players who can come in if there are injuries. I have also seen first-hand that they are getting coached right, with good ideas, and the players are responding well to that. Hopefully this team can be the one to bring a trophy home.
“Everyone can see the potential in the team is huge. They have come off the back of a hugely successful World Cup, but in a strange way I think the game against Spain will give them even more confidence than what they did in the summer. That was a massive result, to win away in Spain. To be around the squad, to see how Gareth is coaching, was great.”
The friendly against USA was also a chance for him to have a close look at the teenage sensation Jadon Sancho. The Dortmund attacker put in a brilliant display on his first start and created Trent Alexander-Arnold’s goal. Up next for Sancho will be a slightly stiffer opposition in World Cup finalists Croatia on Sunday.
“I’m not surprised by him,” Rooney said. “He is a fantastic talent. I spoke to him before the game and he said he was nervous, which is normal, but the important thing for me was that he showed he isn’t afraid to make mistakes. He’s only 18. It happens. Of course you’re going to make mistakes. I told him to have an impact and a few moments that people will remember – and he certainly did that.”
The DC United man rubbished talk of him feeling jealous of Sancho too.
“I’m not jealous,” he said. “I’m a fan now. I’ve had my time. Are you jealous of me because I’m younger than you? Of course I’m excited for him. I’m excited for all of them, I’m excited for England. This is a great opportunity for this group of players to make that next step.
“They’ve already got to a World Cup semi-final, but they can’t sit back and be happy about doing what the 1990 team did. They have got the potential to go further. This is a young group of players, but I can see the mentality is right and they’ll be pushing for more.”