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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Rooney back as Wilson gets England call-up

FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY: England’s Wayne Rooney. Photo: AP
FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY: England’s Wayne Rooney. Photo: AP

One-time Ireland target Callum Wilson has been called up to he England squad for the first time as Wayne Rooney is back for the upcoming games against the United States and Croatia.

Wilson, who has an Irish grandparent, was being tracked by the FAI but never declared and he has now been rewarded with a senior summons by England coach Gareth Southgate.

The return of record goalscorer Rooney has split opinion, with the 33-year-old set to collect a 120th cap in the November 15 friendly against the US to honour his Three Lions career.

Rooney has not played for his country for almost two years it's understood he will make a late substitute appearance in a game which will be known officially as the Wayne Rooney Foundation International.

He is not in contention for the Nations League clash with Croatia three days later.

Southgate revealed talks over Rooney's involvement have been going on for a year, ever since his international retirement.

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

"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.

"We have brought former players back to speak and present shirts. I think all the players respect Wayne's contribution and that he deserves the best possible send-off."

Wilson, who has scored six Premier League goals so far this season, is rewarded with a maiden call-up to the senior ranks.

Midfielders Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard return after being ruled out of last month's Nations League double-header against Spain and Croatia through injury - with youngsters Mason Mount and James Maddison dropping out.

A 3-2 win in Seville followed a draw in Croatia, meaning England must wait on the result of the meeting between their Group Four rivals before they know what rests on their final Nations League game.

Relegation to League B or progression into the finals of the inaugural tournament both remain possibilities ahead of Spain's trip to Zagreb.

Alex McCarthy, Luke Shaw and Danny Welbeck are also included, having been forced to withdraw from the previous squad due to minor injuries.

Everton defender Michael Keane is included in an England squad for the first time in 12 months, with uncapped Brighton centre-back Lewis Dunk also retaining his place.

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