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Thursday 13 December 2018

England send Rooney off with a bang

England 3 USA 0

Wayne Rooney won his last cap
Wayne Rooney won his last cap
Jesse Lingard

England great Wayne Rooney got a heartfelt send-off and first-hand glimpse of the future as debutant Callum Wilson completed a comfortable win for Gareth Southgate's experimental side against the United States.

Focus on number 10 switched from Downing Street to Wembley last night as the Three Lions' all-time top scorer and most capped outfield player brought the curtain down on his international career once and for all.

Rooney received a warm reception before and after coming on for his 120th appearance for England, who prepared for Sunday's crunch Nations League clash with Croatia by beating the USA 3-0 thanks to goals from Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Wilson.

The latter wrapped up victory on a night that also saw Lewis Dunk and Alex McCarthy make their international bows.

The 18-year-old Jadon Sancho handed his first start as the Three Lions looked to the future while also paying tribute to one of their greatest players.

Rooney received a standing ovation when brought on in the 58th minute of a match that Southgate's men were already in control of thanks to a fine Lingard effort and Alexander-Arnold's first goal for his country.

There was to be no fairytale farewell goal for the 33-year-old, but he was first to celebrate with Wilson after the debutant scored the third on a night that saw the DC United forward impress against the country he now calls home.

His appearance in this friendly may have split opinion in the build-up, but there can be no doubt that the support for the Wayne Rooney Foundation and chance for fans to say thanks was only positive.

Rooney said after that the future of the side is in capable hands now that a new breed of youngsters have come through at international level.

"It's my opinion that England are in very safe hands from what I've seen this week. The way they are being coached is brilliant, it's a great group of young players who have a bright future," he said.

"They will go close to being the next team to bring a trophy back for England."

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