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Wayne Rooney's Farewell Match Decision is Mine, Says Gareth Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate admitted that he had not spoken to former captain Wayne Rooney about coming out of retirement for a farewell match against the United States. Southgate though insisted that calling-up Rooney for what will be his 120th appearance was his decision.

News18 Sports

Updated:November 9, 2018, 2:38 PM IST
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Wayne Rooney's Farewell Match Decision is Mine, Says Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate salutes their fans after the match. (REUTERS)
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England manager Gareth Southgate admitted that he had not spoken to former captain Wayne Rooney about coming out of retirement for a farewell match against the United States. Southgate though insisted that calling-up Rooney for what will be his 120th appearance was his decision.

Rooney is expected to come on as a second half substitute one last time, in a match dedicated to Wayne Rooney Foundation. However, the FA is not on the same boat and have refused to donate any of the gate receipts.

The decision to recall the former Manchester United man has seen the FA face accusations of this being a marketing ploy to sell more tickets, while some have also suggested that this would cause more harm than good to Southgate’s process of continuous development and the crucial tie against Croatia in the UEFA Nations League.

Southgate though feels his side will not be affected.

"I don't know how the discussions worked but I know that internally I get consulted when there are football decisions to be made," the coach told ESPN. "The football decisions are my decisions.

"There are players who have either been with us who I feel need to play to make sure they feel valued. Or there are young players we want to see from the start -- that has to be the start point.

"And then we are able to acknowledge Wayne's contribution after that. We've got to get the part of the game we need. But we are able to facilitate both.

"With England there are many objectives we are trying to achieve. You can't achieve them all but we endeavour to achieve as many of them as we can. But there's some players in positions I want to see and I'm excited about."

Southgate, under whom England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup recently in Russia, said his last conversation with Rooney had been in April, but nothing about the tribute had been discussed.

"We had a good discussion there but we haven't directly discussed this, because there was no need for that," Southgate said. "I don't think [he thought he was going to start the game] but I've not spoken with him.

"There's no particular agenda to me not speaking to him, let's make that officially clear. I don't think Wayne has been involved in all those discussions and I don't need to be involved in all those discussions, frankly.

"I want to always be consulted on the football and if I'm happy from a football perspective -- am I happy that I'm getting what I need from the game? Are we happy as a coaching team that we're getting what we need from the game? Any opportunity for us to honour a player we will hugely respect.

"It was one we felt was important to take up. It's important to recognise that if there's a football decision the organisation comes to me and the start point is, 'How would you feel about this?' If I don't think it's something suitable then it doesn't get any further."

The expectation is of at least 60,000 people for the farewell match at Wembley, and Southgate said he would do his best to ensure people get their money’s worth.

"I don't want to give an exact minute because if I don't get it right ... there will be a bookmaker running a book on it," Southgate joked.

"I think it should be appropriate that people are not heading for the tubes before he comes on, and also we have got out of the game what we wanted and not take someone off too early."
| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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