Football news - Gareth Southgate: Wayne Rooney deserves proper England send-off
England manager Gareth Southgate has defended his decision to hand a 120th cap to Wayne Rooney - and revealed he has been in discussions to give the country's record goalscorer a proper farewell for a year.
Rooney's tribute night would have happened last year, but England were preparing for the World Cup.
"Those discussions started 12 months ago. We have an opportunity with the game at Wembley to pay tribute."
"I am still able to look to the future with the squad we've picked, but we've talked a lot about the history of the shirt."
Germany's Lukas Podolski celebrates with Leroy Sane and Andre Schurrle after scoring their first goalReuters
Southgate revealed he was inspired by the fitting send-off Germany gave to Lukas Podolski in March 2017 when the former Arsenal forward scored the winner against England on his 130th appearance for the then World Cup holders.
"We went to Germany and played when they honoured (Lukas) Podolski. I think we were all struck by the fact that was a really good way to recognise somebody who had a fantastic career for his country," said Southgate, whose side face Croatia in a Nations League qualifier three days later without Rooney.
"I don't think we have been brilliant at that over the years.
"We can't do anything about what we have done in the past. I know what it meant to the squad from '66 when they came to St George's Park and had a dinner. I know what it meant to Sir Bobby Charlton when we named the pitch after him at St George's. "
"I really think it is important that former players feel part of what we are doing with England."
Rooney, 33, last turned out for England against Scotland in a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win two years ago, but Southgate is adamant he has not been selected to boost sales for the friendly match.
"I am still able to look to the future in terms of the squad we have picked. 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," said Southgate.
"I understand that has caused debate but for me it is a small way of appreciating what he has given to his country."
"If somebody is going to earn that cap it is someone who has got 119 more than someone who has one. I think he's earned the right to that cap over a period of over 10 years, six major tournaments and being our record goalscorer.
"It is an opportunity to pay tribute to what he has achieved."
England's 28-man squad
- Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
- Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)
- Ross Barkley (Chelsea)
- Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham)
- Jack Butland (Stoke City)
- Ben Chilwell (Leicester City)
- Fabian Delph (Manchester City)
- Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur)
- Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion)
- Joe Gomez (Liverpool)
- Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
- Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
- Michael Keane (Everton)
- Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea)
- Alex McCarthy (Southampton)
- Jordan Pickford (Everton)
- Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
- Wayne Rooney (DC United)
- Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
- Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
- Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
- John Stones (Manchester City)
- Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur)
- Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
- Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
- Callum Wilson (AFC Bournemouth)
- Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur)