Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Sport | By

Darren Fletcher: 'Manchester United anxious Wayne Rooney would join Real Madrid'

Darren Fletcher: 'Manchester United anxious Wayne Rooney would join Real Madrid'

Harry Kane has backed Wayne Rooney to captain England when he makes his surprise return to the worldwide fold next week.

"There have been ongoing discussions since Wayne retired about paying tribute to him and his England career", said Southgate, who added Rooney had declined an opportunity to be honoured before the World Cup so as not to take the attention away from those going to Russian Federation.

"He wouldn't wear the No 10 because he won't start the game", Southgate said. "He's our greatest goalscorer and so why not give him the send-off he deserves".

Southgate did not confirm whether it was his decision to pick Rooney in his 28-player squad, when asked if there was a business motive to sell tickets for the match at Wembley.

After news of Rooney's return drew a mixed response, the Football Association revealed the D.C. United striker would only make a second-half cameo appearance at Wembley.

"There's still a long way to go", said the 25-year-old.

A man who was heavily linked with the England managerial post at various stages throughout his coaching career told the Daily Star: "I like Wayne, I get on well with him and his record speaks for itself". "He's a threat running in behind defences, so this will be a good opportunity to look at him and try to see how he fits in to what we are trying to do".

"I understand that has caused debate but for me, it is a small way of appreciating what he has given to his country".

Rooney is the Three Lions' all-time leading goalscorer and a man assured of his place in English football folklore, but he has been in global retirement for over 12 months.

Southgate revealed he wants to "protect" his core squad as much as possible in the friendly against the U.S. before they play Croatia in the UEFA Nations League - a competition the England manager insists he takes seriously.

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