Wayne Rooney is convinced England are in safe hands with coach Gareth Southgate and his staff after saying farewell to the Three Lions in Thursday’s 3-0 win over the United States.
Wayne Rooney came on just before the hour to a rousing Wembley reception for his 120th and final international appearance.
Under Southgate, England reached the World Cup semi-finals at Russia 2018 and, having spent time in the camp this week, Rooney has seen enough to believe the country’s wait for a major trophy – which stretches back to 1966 – can come to an end.
“It’s my opinion but I think it’s in very safe hands with what I’ve seen this week, how the players are being coached, and how the players are responding to it is excellent,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s a great group of young players, who have got a very bright future and they’ll go close to being the next team to bring a trophy home for England. I hope they do, I’ll be one of the fans cheering them on.”
Jesse Lingard’s stunner and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s first international goal already had England 2-0 up by the time Rooney entered the fray. The former Manchester United star had a couple of opportunities to cap his goodbye game with a popular goal, either side of debutant Callum Wilson rounding off the win.
But, with a wry smile, Rooney suggested perhaps it was better he did not score given his selection caused some debate among former players and pundits.
He added: “In some ways it’s great because if I did score it would open the debate as to whether it should count or not, so it’s probably better it didn’t go in!
“It’s been great. Tonight was a great way to finish off my international career. I thought the lads were brilliant, played a great game. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the goal but it will stay in the memory a long time.”
On the reaction he received from the crowd, Rooney said: “They gave me a great reception, it was a moment to saviour.
“Everyone in the dressing room enjoyed it, it’s not taken away from what Gareth is trying to do, hopefully some of those players will get similar moments for what they achieved in their England careers.”
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