Wayne Rooney Foundation International Should Be Commended, Not Criticized

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In his defense of Thursday night’s ‘Wayne Rooney Foundation International,” the new moniker for the England-USA friendly, Three Lions Manager Gareth Southgate described Rooney as someone who “has often been undervalued in terms of how well he played for England.”

The all time leading scorer in an England shirt, Wayne Rooney retired from international football in 2017, but he’ll reactivate for Three Lions just this one time, and collect his 120th cap. After this match, Wazza’s England career will exist only in memorabilia, football posters, footage of past games and in the memory banks of supporters. 

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Appreciate him while he’s still here, because at age 33, with a club future that’s in doubt, he’ll be gone before you know it. With this in mind, it’s rather surprising that Wazza’s comeback has come under such scrutiny. When Rooney makes his substitute appearance in the second half at Wembley Stadium in a few days time, it will be an honorable moment, not a disgraceful one.

Some former English players have said that this arrangement diminishes the value of the cap, but they do realize this is just a meaningless friendly, right?

They do understand that the Wayne Rooney Foundation International is for a good cause and brings attention to a period of football, international breaks, which typically garner very little interest.

“It’s a shame because you want it to be a fitting tribute to an outstanding player who I think has often been undervalued in terms of how well he played for England,” Southgate told the BBC.

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“Hopefully, by the time we get to the game, and him being with us next week, the focus will be on ‘actually, let’s think about what he did and how well he played, and there’s an opportunity here to thank him for that’.

“Any opportunity for us to honor a player we will hugely respect.”

Rooney last suited up for Three Lions two years ago this month. He scored 53 goals in 119 games over the course of 14 years. Southgate says anybody not on board with the meaning of this match needs to better respect the England shirt.

“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.

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“That lineage and heritage of the shirt and the team is important to me because I think whether you join a club or (play for) your country you need to know the history of that shirt and the importance of it – then you are not playing for the name on the back but for the crest on the front.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation. 

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Lineups.com and Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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Comments

  1. Lori J. Woods says:

    I am a very big fan of Wayne Rooney. I remember all of his performances, and as a football lover, I am a huge supporter of him.

  2. Three Lions were good only when Wayne Rooney played for them. I truly think that this arrangement, now, diminishes the value of the cap.

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