As announced over the weekend, Wayne Rooney is to come out of international retirement and return to the England squad for an entirely convoluted ‘farewell’ appearance later this month.
Specifically, Rooney will be allowed to take his cap tally to 120 by turning out for the Three Lions one last time in their upcoming friendly against the United States at Wembley on 15th November.
The DC United forward last played for his country in November of 2016, captaining the team in a World Cup qualifying victory over Scotland.
One last cap. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/VYSlKyxxgU
— England (@England) 5 November 2018
Rooney has described the opportunity/stunt being afforded to him by The FA as “truly humbling and hugely exciting” while England manager Gareth Southgate lauded a “unique opportunity that is befitting of our nation’s record goalscorer”.
We wonder if he’ll be allowed to take a penalty or two to bump up his goal tally to a nice round number as well.
Obviously, the whole thing is little more than a circus sideshow, but the only saving grace is that a portion of the profits will be donated to The Wayne Rooney Foundation.
Pies’ thoughts on the matter are thus: The USA game is now a legitimate friendly reduced to exhibition status, and caps – as The FA well know – should be earned not handed out on a complimentary basis.
It’s all eerily reminiscent of the latter days of David Beckham’s international career, as a series of increasingly tenuous token cameos (some for less than a minute) under Fabio Capello saw him gradually overtake Bobby Moore’s 108-cap outfield record.
Acknowledging long-serving players is one thing. Artificially padding their stats for the sake of drumming up an ‘event’ is quite another.
Simple really. Stop devaluing football with rubbish like this.