Southgate defends giving Rooney a final England appearance

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LONDON (AP) — England coach Gareth Southgate says the country needs to be better at honoring the contribution of its soccer stars in a defense of the decision to allow record-scorer Wayne Rooney to make a farewell appearance.

The 33-year-old striker will feature for a 120th England appearance during next Thursday’s friendly against the United States at Wembley Stadium despite retiring from international duty in August 2017.

After a career in England at Manchester United and Everton, the former England captain is now in Major League Soccer with D.C. United.

Recalling how Germany honored Lukas Podolski around a 2017 game against England, Southgate said “we were all struck by the fact that it was a good way to recognize someone who’s had a fantastic career for his country.”

Southgate added, “we’ve not been brilliant at that over the years.”

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