Rooney Wins ‘Wagatha’ Libel Case Against Fellow England Football Wife Vardy

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on July 29, 2022 shows
Rebekah Vardy (L), wife of England and Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy, and Coleen Rooney, wife of former England footballer Wayne Rooney, outside the High Court in central London during the “Wagatha Christie” libel trial on May 12, 2022.  (Photos by Daniel LEAL / AFP)

 

 

A UK judge Friday effectively branded England footballer’s wife Rebekah Vardy a liar, rejecting her “Wagatha Christie” libel suit against Coleen Rooney following a trial that lifted the lid on celebrity skullduggery.

High Court judge Karen Steyn found that allegations made by Rooney against Vardy were “substantially true” and that Vardy was complicit in the release of damaging stories to The Sun newspaper by her agent.

Vardy’s husband Jamie plays for Leicester City, while Rooney is the wife of former Manchester United star Wayne. The 12-day trial in May laid bare tabloid double-dealing and the lives of the rich and famous.

The women’s lawyers had also represented Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and Chelsea Football Club’s former owner Roman Abramovich.

Legal costs reportedly ran to around £3 million ($3.6 million), most of which will now fall to Vardy.

Rooney said in a statement that she was “pleased” by the outcome.

But she regretted the case was brought to court “at such expense in times of hardship for so many people, when the money could have been far better spent helping others”.

There was no immediate comment from Vardy.

– Elaborate sting –
Fascination with the lives of the wives and girlfriends (WAGs) of top-flight footballers — and their very public falling-out — produced wall-to-wall coverage of the trial.

The pair’s designer outfits and Coleen’s surgical boot made front-page news, while social media split into two camps — #TeamColeen and #TeamRebekah.

Coleen, the childhood sweetheart of England’s leading goal scorer, was dubbed “Wagatha Christie” after she set up an elaborate sting to try to determine who was behind the leaks, then announced her findings publicly.

“It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account,” she said.

Vardy vehemently denied leaking stories that Rooney only shared with selected friends on Instagram and had sought “substantial libel damages”.

But Steyn found that Vardy and her former agent Caroline Watt were “party to the disclosure”.

“It is likely that Ms Watt undertook the direct act, in relation to each post, of passing the information to a journalist at The Sun,” and that Vardy “knew of, condoned and was actively engaged in this process,” she ruled.

English libel law placed the onus on Rooney to prove that her post alleging she had traced the leaked stories to Vardy was “substantially true”.

Steyn ruled that Rooney “had succeeded in proving” that point.

– ‘Vile abuse’ –
Vardy faced lengthy cross-examination during the trial and was even questioned on an interview where she derided the penis size of her previous boyfriend, the pop singer Peter Andre.

Rooney’s lawyer accused her of being “an entirely unreliable witness”.

But her lawyer said Vardy was “entitled to an award of substantial libel damages” for serious harm to her reputation.

Summing up, Rooney’s lawyer alleged that Vardy “regularly and frequently leaked information to The Sun about a number of people… as opposed to simply Mrs Rooney”.

He accused her of being “hand in glove” with Watt, who did not testify and was unable to present a mobile phone she said she had dropped in the North Sea.

The lawyer alleged that Vardy selectively deleted phone messages ahead of the trial.

Vardy’s lawyer said his client “made mistakes” by trusting Watt, claiming she was unaware her agent was leaking stories. He said the case had been “serious and extremely upsetting” for his client.

Judge Steyn agreed that Vardy had been subjected to “vile abuse”, including when she was pregnant with her fifth child. Nothing in the libel case gave “any justification or excuse” for that, she wrote.

It’s Difficult Managing United With Ferguson’s Continued Presence, Says Rooney

Photo of Derby County manager, Wayne Rooney

 

Ex-Manchester United forward, Wayne Rooney, has suggested that Alex Ferguson’s continuous presence at the club piles pressure on managers who have succeeded him.

Ferguson stepped down as manager of the Red Devils in 2013, with a plethora of trophies which include 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA cup titles, two UEFA Champions League titles and a host of others.

However, those who have come after the Scot have failed to replicate his historic feats with Man Utd last lifting the Premier League in 2013.

Speaking to Skysports on David Moyes’s short-lived tenure at Old Trafford, Rooney admitted the Hammers’ manager faced an ‘impossible task’ as Ferguson’s departure left the morale in the dressing room at a low.

READ ALSO: Jamal Musiala, The Teenage Jewel In Bayern’s Midfield

The 36-year-old also expressed fears over the influence of Ferguson’s puppet master role in the dressing room, saying this could have a negative effect on incumbent managers.

 

Ferguson 'Showing Signs Of Recovery' After Haemorrhage
FILES) In this file photo taken on April 07, 2018, Manchester United’s former manager Alex Ferguson is seen in the crowd during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester,
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

‘The Godfather’

“I thought David Moyes had an impossible task of taking over (the role of) Sir Alex Ferguson and you could see that even though we won the Premier League that season, you could see everyone was down because they knew that he was gone,” Rooney said.

“He is still involved in some way and I think that brings pressure onto any new manager coming in and if you want to manage Manchester United, you have to do it your way and make your own decisions.”

On the perfect manager to lift the club out of its current challenges, Rooney gave his vote of confidence to current PSG boss, Mauricio Pochettino, but insisted whoever would take up the position eventually needed time to make significant progress and, the hierarchy’s support.

“It needs someone to come in with that time to get that club back to where it deserves to be. It’s not going to happen if you keep changing managers every two years,” the ex-English international added.

“Ferguson was like the godfather of the club, not just the players but the staff, the academy; he was on top of everything. When you lose someone like that from the club, someone else is coming in and it’s a massive change.”

 

Rooney Admits Derby ‘Deserved’ Defeat In His First Game As Manager

In this file photo taken on January 24, 2020 Derby County's English striker Wayne Rooney arrives for the English FA Cup fourth round football match between between Northampton Town and Derby County at the Sixfields Stadium in Northampton, central England. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 24, 2020 Derby County’s English striker Wayne Rooney arrives for the English FA Cup fourth round football match between between Northampton Town and Derby County at the Sixfields Stadium in Northampton, central England. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Wayne Rooney admitted Derby deserved a 1-0 defeat to Championship relegation rivals Rotherham in his first match in permanent charge at Pride Park.

Jamie Lindsay fired home four minutes from time as the Millers’ moved above Derby, who slip to second bottom of the table.

It was far from an ideal start to his reign for the former Manchester United and England captain, who gave an honest assessment of side’s underwhelming performance.

“Today Rotherham outfought us,” said Rooney.

“Our quality on the ball and our concentration levels weren’t where they should be.

“That’s the disappointing thing and, if I’m being honest, I don’t think we deserved anything from this game.”

At the other end of the table, Norwich remain well on course for an immediate return to the Premier League thanks to a fast start in a 2-1 win at Cardiff.

Grant Hanley put the leaders in front after just four minutes, nodding in at the far post after a flick-on from a corner.

READ ALSO: Rooney Loses First Game In Charge Of Derby

And it was 2-0 after 20 minutes as Todd Cantwell rounded off a slick counter-attack by slotting into an empty net following a smart save from Alex Smithies.

Joe Ralls gave Cardiff hope by thumping into the bottom corner from 12 yards after 65 minutes but the hosts were reduced to 10 men five minutes later when Marlon Pack was shown a second yellow card and slipped to a fourth successive defeat.

 

Rooney left Manchester United in 2017. Photo: [email protected] County.

 

Swansea remain four points behind the leaders in second thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win at Barnsley

Ben Cabango opened the scoring just before half-time before Jamal Lowe doubled the Swans advantage with his 10th goal of the season.

Bournemouth are now four points off the automatic promotion places after a 1-0 loss at home to Luton.

The Cherries’ task was made more difficult when Jefferson Lerma was shown a straight red card after 26 minutes for catching Tom Lockyer in the face with a stray arm while competing for a header.

Bournemouth pushed to overcome their numerical disadvantage but Luton capitalised as the hosts tired when Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall curled the winner into the bottom corner 23 minutes from time.

Watford returned to the playoff places with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield.

Tom Cleverley gave Watford a 54th-minute lead by capitalising on indecisive defending from Huddersfield.

Alex Vallejo attempted to pass the ball back to Ryan Schofield, who hesitated as Cleverley closed in and beat the goalkeeper to the ball to slide in from six yards.

Joao Pedro made sure of the points 10 minutes later, tapping in at the far post from Kiko Femenia’s cross.

Sammy Ameobi struck twice as Nottingham Forest secured back-to-back wins for only the second time this season with a 3-1 victory against Millwall.

Birmingham manager Aitor Karanka enjoyed a successful return to the Riverside as Scott Hogan struck to earn the Blues a 1-0 win and prevent Middlesbrough from moving into the play-off places.

A 1-1 draw did little to aid Stoke and Blackburn’s playoff hopes.

AFP

 

Rooney Loses First Game In Charge Of Derby

 In this file photo taken on January 24, 2020 Derby County's English striker Wayne Rooney arrives for the English FA Cup fourth round football match between between Northampton Town and Derby County at the Sixfields Stadium in Northampton, central England. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 24, 2020 Derby County’s English striker Wayne Rooney arrives for the English FA Cup fourth round football match between between Northampton Town and Derby County at the Sixfields Stadium in Northampton, central England. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Wayne Rooney suffered defeat in his first match in permanent charge of Derby as relegation rivals Rotherham won 1-0 at Pride Park and Norwich opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the Championship table.

The former Manchester United and England captain was officially confirmed as the Rams’ manager on Friday, having held the post on an interim basis since the departure of Phillip Cocu in November.

But his reign started inauspiciously as Jamie Lindsay’s late strike sent County second bottom of the table.

Norwich remain well on course for an immediate return to the Premier League thanks to a fast start away to Cardiff.

Grant Hanley put the leaders in front after just four minutes, nodding in at the far post after a flick on from a corner.

And it was 2-0 after 20 minutes as Todd Cantwell rounded off a slick counter-attack by slotting into an empty net following a smart save from Alex Smithies.

Joe Ralls gave Cardiff hope by thumping into the bottom corner from 12 yards after 65 minutes but the hosts were reduced to 10 men five minutes later when Marlon Pack was shown a second yellow card and slipped to a fourth successive defeat.

Second-placed Swansea can close the gap at the top back to four points with victory later at Barnsley.

Bournemouth missed the chance to go second after a 1-0 loss at home to Luton.

The Cherries’ task was made more difficult when Jefferson Lerma was shown a straight red card after 26 minutes for catching Tom Lockyer in the face with a stray arm while competing for a header.

Bournemouth pushed to overcome their numerical disadvantage but Luton capitalised as the hosts tired to take the lead after 67 minutes.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall curled the winner into the bottom corner from 15 yards.

Watford returned to the playoff places with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield.

Tom Cleverley gave Watford a 54th-minute lead by capitalising on indecisive defending from Huddersfield.

Alex Vallejo attempted to pass the ball back to Ryan Schofield, who hesitated as Cleverley closed in and beat the goalkeeper to the ball to slide in from six yards.

Joao Pedro made sure of the points 10 minutes later, tapping in at the far post from Kiko Femenia’s cross.

Sammy Ameobi struck twice as Nottingham Forest secured back-to-back wins for only the second time this season with a 3-1 victory against Millwall.

Birmingham manager Aitor Karanka enjoyed a successful return to the Riverside as Scott Hogan struck to earn the Blues a 1-0 win and prevent Middlesbrough from moving into the play-off places.

A 1-1 draw did little to aid Stoke and Blackburn’s playoff hopes.

 

AFP

Championship: Rooney To Debut In Derby Clash Against Barnsley

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United speaks at the 2011 MLS All-Star Game press conference at All-Star HUB in New York City.  AFP

 

England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney will make his debut for second-tier Derby against Barnsley on Thursday, the club’s manager Phillip Cocu confirmed.

Rooney, 34, joined Derby as a player-coach from MLS side DC United but has been ineligible to play for his new side until January.

“If a player with the qualities, career and the experience of Rooney (is available) you have to be very happy and glad he is here,” said Cocu after Monday’s 2-1 home win over Charlton in the Championship.

“He’s fit, he can start but he will need a few games. Expectation will be high when he starts playing but we have to give him a few games to build up his minutes and get in the team.

“So maybe not perfect from the start but it’s important he will get in the team as soon as possible so we get a certain shape in our team.”

Rooney’s debut can’t come soon enough for Derby.

Their win on Monday moved them into 17th place in English football’s second-tier.

However, they are still nine points shy of the play-off spots and 21 behind the two automatic promotion places.

On Monday, teenage midfielder Jason Knight scored his first goals in professional football to give Derby the three points, ending a run of seven games without a win.

Victory came despite the Rams playing most of the match a man down after Krystian Bielik was sent off for a crude challenge on Conor Gallagher.

Knight put Derby ahead in the 10th minute at Pride Park when he forced the ball in at the back post only for Bielik to see red soon afterwards.

But 10-man Derby still doubled their lead 13 minutes from time when Knight scored his second following a cross from Max Bird.

Charlton ensured a nervous finish for the home side when the south London club pulled a goal back seven minutes from time thanks to Lyle Taylor’s successful penalty, awarded after Curtis Davies brought down Gallagher in the box.

AFP

Rooney Confident He Could Still Thrive In Premier League

File Photo: Wayne Rooney attends a press conference during a media day at St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, central England on November 13, 2018, ahead of their international friendly football match against the USA on November 15.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Wayne Rooney believes he could still make an impact in the Premier League as the former Manchester United star targets a return to the top-flight with Derby.

Rooney will resume his career in England next month after joining second-tier Derby as player-coach from MLS side DC United.

The 34-year-old striker will work as an assistant to Rams boss Phillip Coco, with promotion back to the top flight the aim as he tries to prove he can still compete with the sport’s elite even in the twilight of his career.

“I still felt I could do it when I was at Everton, but other people made their decisions on that,” Rooney was quoted as saying in the British media on Sunday.

“Now my ambition is to get Derby back in the Premier League and hopefully play my part there for them.

“Ryan Giggs was able to play into his late thirties in the Premier League and Gareth Barry says he wants to do it at 40.

“It’s important to understand football. It is not all about running round, it is about using your head to play the game.

“Sometimes that gets lost, because you don’t score as many goals or whatever. Given the right team around me, then I could still play in the Premier League.

“The two teams I played for in the Premier League were Manchester United and Everton. I am at Derby now, and hopefully, we can get there with them.”

Former England captain Rooney, whose tally of 208 Premier League goals is bettered only by Alan Shearer, went to America in June last year after leaving first club Everton, whom he re-joined from United following a 13-year stay at Old Trafford.

Derby are 16th in the Championship, nine points off the play-off places after Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Millwall.

Rooney To Join Derby As Player-Coach In January

DC United midfielder and former England captain Wayne Rooney speaks during a press conference at Pride Park Stadium in Derby on August 6, 2019 after Rooney agreed to a deal to become a player-coach.  Darren STAPLES / AFP

 

Former England captain Wayne Rooney is to leave Washington-based DC United after agreeing on a deal to become player-coach of  Championship side Derby County, the clubs announced on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old — the record goalscorer for both his country and Manchester United — signed an initial 18-month contract with the ambitious second-tier side, who under Rooney’s former England team-mate Frank Lampard reached the play-off final last season.

The high-profile signing has already paid off for the club.

“On the back of Wayne joining the club, we have just been offered a record-breaking sponsorship deal with our principal shirt sponsor,” said owner Mel Morris.

READ ALSO: German Football Officials Charged In World Cup Fraud Probe

Derby, two-time English champions back in the 1970s, have been rewarded for being quick off the mark when rumours surfaced that Colleen, Rooney’s wife and mother of their three children, was unhappy in the United States and wanted to return home.

Rooney, who is presently working towards securing his coaching qualifications, will work under former PSV Eindhoven boss Phillip Cocu.

“I am very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with,” Rooney told the club website.

“I am looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff, and the first-team squad from the start of January.

“I am sure I can make a big contribution and can’t wait to meet everyone, especially the supporters.

“I am equally excited to begin my coaching career at Derby County working with both the first team and academy.

“I must also take this opportunity to thank DC United, their owners, executives and supporters who have been superb to work with.

“I want them to know that I will give my all in support of our push for the play-offs.”

 ‘Confidence or swag’ 

Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, co-chairmen of DC United, praised Rooney for his contribution to the franchise — he has scored 23 times in 42 appearances since he joined from Everton on a three-year contract last year.

“After speaking to Wayne and understanding his difficult situation of being so far away from his family, we have accepted that this is the best decision for all parties,” they told the Derby website.

“Wayne is an exceptional leader and one of the most iconic players to play the game, so we look forward to his continued contributions to the team this season.”

Morris said Rooney’s arrival would bolster the reputation of the club.

“To have Wayne Rooney as a player, and equally as an aspiring coach, is incredible and I can only imagine the buzz this will generate amongst our supporters at home and internationally,” said Morris.

Cocu, who began his spell as manager with a 2-1 win over Huddersfield on Monday, said Rooney’s experience would be a massive boost to the club as they seek to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2008.

“It is an exciting prospect for him to be joining Derby County and he can bring so much to this squad, both on and off the pitch,” said Cocu.

“To have a player with his leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic will be huge for us.

“The inspiration and motivation this can generate is massive for all of our players from the first team right through to the youngsters in the academy.”

Morris will be hoping Rooney wields a similar influence that he has done at DC United as attested to by his team-mate Steve Birnbaum.

“He’s changed everything, he’s changed the culture of the club,” Birnbaum told the Daily Telegraph.

“The work ethic he puts in during practice and you guys see it in the games. We have this sort of confidence or swag going into games because of him.”

AFP

Rooney Says His Future Is In MLS Ahead Of All-Star Clash

In this file photo taken on July 25, 2011, Wayne Rooney of Manchester United speaks at the 2011 MLS All-Star Game press conference at All-Star HUB in New York City. 
Mike Lawrie / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Wayne Rooney stressed Tuesday that his future remains in Major League Soccer amid new suggestions his family are unsettled in Washington and want him to return to England before his current contract expires.

The former England and Manchester United forward bristled when asked about stories circulating in England that wife Coleen has demanded he quits North America when his current DC United contract expires at the end of 2021.

Rooney, in Orlando ahead of Wednesday’s MLS All-Star match against Atletico Madrid, says he has started work on his coaching badges and admits he wants to follow the likes of new Chelsea coach Frank Lampard and make the transition from player to manager.

The striker signed a three-and-a-half year deal last summer following his move from Everton.

But when asked by AFP if his wife has put down demands for him to quit football for the sake of his family, Rooney snapped: “Is that what was in the media? That my wife has got her own way?

“Those reports are a bit far fetched. I’m concentrating on playing for DC United and trying to get them into the playoffs.

“I haven’t thought about anything beyond that.

“I am a bit tired as I left on Tuesday morning at 4:00 am to come to Orlando but I feel in good shape.”

Rooney has enjoyed his spell in MLS, scoring 23 goals in 42 appearances.

At the age of 33, however, the Liverpool-born star knows his playing career won’t last forever.

“Coaching is something which I have thought about for a long time,” Rooney said.

“I’m in the process now of going through my badges. It would be a shame for me to finish playing and just walk away from the game.

“I have a desire to go into management and hopefully the right opportunity will come up.”

Rooney will team with fellow European star Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Carlos Vela, the Mexcian forward and current MLS goals leader, against an Atletico side boasting the likes of Spanish international Diego Costa and Portuguese wonderkid Joao Felix.

LA Galaxy forward Ibrahimovich, 37, gave the impression of someone who would rather be resting than taking part in an exhibition game in the searing Florida heat and humidity.

The Swede, however, undoubtedly loves the limelight, telling AFP: “It’s a game which has to be played. It’s important for MLS. This is their global window to play against a fantastic team like Atletico, but I just hope no one gets injured.

“All of our players have important games to come in our own season. We’re over halfway through now.

“I’m enjoying it in MLS though. I just how consider how my body feels. If I feel good, I’ll continue to play.

“What do I want to do after I finish playing? I don’t know. My whole life has been football.”

Wayne Rooney Scores Magical Goal From Half-Field

FILE PHOTO: Wayne Rooney of DC United reacts in the second half against the Vancouver Whitecaps during his MLS debut at Audi Field in Washington, DC. PHOTO: Patrick McDermott / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Wayne Rooney scored a highlight reel goal with a moon shot blast from his own half of the field to lift DC United to a 1-0 victory over Orlando City on Wednesday.

Former English star Rooney hammered a 68-yard strike over the head of Orlando goalkeeper Brian Rowe and into the back of the net in the 10th minute.

Rooney got the ball off a deflected clearance and when he realized Rowe was out of his 18-yard box he launched a first-touch blast that will go down as one of Major League Soccer’s goals of the year.

DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid posted his seventh shutout of the year while Rowe finished with three saves.

Rooney will be part of the league’s July All-Star exhibition game where he will join Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Josef Martinez.

The MLS All-Stars will face 10-time La Liga champions Atletico at Orlando City’s Exploria Stadium on July 31.

AFP

DC United’s Rooney Suffers Lower Leg Injury In Win

England’s striker Wayne Rooney.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

English star striker Wayne Rooney played only 18 minutes Saturday after suffering a lower right leg injury in DC United’s 1-0 pre-season victory over Bethlehem Steel at Clearwater, Florida.

Rooney, whose mid-season arrival last year helped lift United from the Major League Soccer basement into a playoff spot, was removed as a precaution and is listed as day-to-day, according to the club in a league website posting.

Rooney said the knock he received on his lower right shin similar to a few injuries he had suffered before, the Washington Post reported.

Rooney is expected to be fit in time for Thursday’s pre-season matchup against new MLS expansion club FC Cincinnati, according to DC United, which dubbed the setback a minor knock and said the former England star was removed as a precaution.

Shinya Kadono, an unsigned prospect, scored the lone goal in the second half for United against the second-level US club.

Rooney Arrested For Being Drunk And Swearing – Reports

(File Photo) Wayne Rooney attends a press conference during a media day at St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, central England on November 13, 2018, ahead of their international friendly football match against the USA on November 15.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Former England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney was arrested last month for being drunk and swearing in public and paid a $25 fine Friday, according to multiple reports Sunday.

Court records obtained by Washington ABC 7 News and The Athletic showed that Rooney was arrested in Loudon County, Virginia, on December 16 for cursing and intoxication, a misdemeanour for which he was released from custody on his own recognizance before paying the fine and court costs on Friday.

Rooney was arrested by the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority at Dulles International Airport, which is located in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington.

The former England captain apparently was at the airport after a trip back from Saudi Arabia. He posted a photo of himself on December 14 from Riyadh at an event.

Rooney is serving a two-year UK drink driving ban stemming from a September 2017 arrest in England.

The 33-year-old forward came to the US capital last July, signing with DC United and taking the last-place Major League Soccer club into the playoffs in his first half-season with the squad.

Rooney was the centrepiece of United’s marketing campaign as the team opened a new stadium, the English star saying upon his arrival he looked forward to the challenge and enjoyed the relative anonymity afforded by suburban life in America.

England Coach Southgate Defends Decision To Honour Rooney

England’s manager Gareth Southgate (C) talks to England’s defender John Stones (L) and England’s defender Kyle Walker during an open training session at St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, central England on September 4, 2018, ahead of their international friendly football match against Spain on September 8. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Gareth Southgate defended the decision to honour Wayne Rooney by fielding England’s top international goalscorer in a friendly against the USA at Wembley next week.

The Football Association announced on Sunday that Rooney would be awarded his 120th cap as a tribute to his England career which appeared to have come to an end when he retired from international football in August 2017.

That decision has been criticised in the English media with a number of exciting young prospects needing more game time to be tested at the international level and the USA game seen as preparation for what could be a crucial Nations League decider against Croatia four days later.

“I am still able to look to the future in terms of the squad we have picked,” insisted Southgate.

“But also I have talked a lot to the players about the importance of the shirt, the history of the shirt, honouring the former players, and I think all the players would respect that Wayne’s contribution deserves the best possible send-off.

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

Rooney, 33, scored 53 goals in his previous 119 caps. However, he failed to carry his country to the level of success they enjoyed under Southgate at the World Cup this year by reaching the semi-finals.

The former Manchester United captain has starred for DC United since moving to Major League Soccer in June.

But Southgate confirmed that Rooney wouldn’t start the match or wear the number 10 shirt, but could be handed the captain’s armband as a substitute.

“He won’t wear number 10 because he won’t start the game,” added Southgate.

“When he came on in his last game, Jordan Henderson ran over and gave him the armband. I guess that it will depend on the circumstances of the game and the players who are out there but I have no issue with that.”

Wilson called up 

Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson is rewarded for his fine start to the campaign with a first England call-up among a bumper 28-man squad named on Thursday.

No English player has scored more than Wilson’s six Premier League goals so far this season.

“He’s a threat in terms of running in behind defences. He’s been involved with either scoring or assists, with a high number of goals this season, so it’s a good opportunity for us to have a look at him and see how he fits into what we do,” said Southgate.

After beating Spain 3-2 in Seville last month, England could progress to the semi-finals of the inaugural Nations League with a victory over Croatia if Spain fail to win in Zagreb on November 15.

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers

Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Alex McCarthy (Southampton), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders

Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City),  Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur)

Forwards

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (DC United/USA), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

AFP