Gareth Southgate has admitted he has not yet spoken to Wayne Rooney about his Wembley farewell game.
Southgate also insisted it is not his idea and even has no clue how long Rooney will get against the USA next Thursday as what was initially presented as a tribute match descended further into farce.
The England boss did say that he hopes the 33-year-old will score “from 25 yards”, but it has become very clear that the whole concept was foisted upon him.
Former captain Rooney, now playing in America for Major League Soccer’s DC United, is due to come on as a substitute — winning his 120th cap — to mark his retirement from international football 15 months ago and his career as the Three Lions’ record goal-scorer.
Southgate said of the ex-Everton and Man United star: “I’ve not spoken to him since he came and was ambassador for the U17s finals [last May].
“We had a good discussion there but we haven’t directly discussed this, because there was no need for that. I don’t think [he thought that] 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 was offered the opportunity to work with Wayne and asked was I happy with him playing part of the game? Absolutely. I have been happy to facilitate that and I think it’s an appropriate tribute for him, a nice moment for him and his family.
“I don’t want to give an exact minute [when he will come on], because if I don’t get it right… there will be a bookmaker running a book on it.
“I think it should be appropriate that people are not heading for the Tube before he comes on, and also we have got out of the game what we wanted and are not taking someone off too early.”
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Since the news broke about Rooney’s participation at the weekend, ticket sales have gone up by 15,000, and the game is now on course for a 60,000 crowd.
Southgate says he hoped it would be a similar send-off to former England cricket captain Alastair Cook’s last summer, when he scored a century in his farewell Test.
“If Wayne can smash one in from 25 yards we will all go home very happy," he said. "That’s over to him. I think over the summer we were backed by everyone whatever their club allegiance, hope that can continue.”
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