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Phil Neville Defends Rooney As Farewell Game Takes Another Turn For Farce

Phil Neville Defends Rooney As Farewell Game Takes Another Turn For Farce
By Gavin Cooney
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Another week of travails for the English FA have made the FAI look like shining administrators upon a hill, casting John Delaney as a kind of laureate of logistics.

The FAI appear to have successfully arranged a farewell international cap for a stalwart without the event descending int0 outraged hang-wringing and farce. While Glenn Whelan will lead Ireland out against Northern Ireland on Thursday week to win his 85th and final Irish cap, England's attempt to bid farewell to Wayne Rooney against the USA has been plagued with difficulty.

While the initial reaction by some of the English press was hysterical, the FA have managed to snatch controversy from the jaws of what was once just a decent gesture. In spite of calling the game the Wayne Rooney Foundation International, the FA are not donating any proceeds from the game to Rooney's foundation. Instead, they will encourage fans to donate to the foundation, and buckets in support of the charity will be jangling outside the ground.


In response to the initial 'England-caps-should-be-earned-and-not-given-in-spite-of-the-fact-this-is-a-meaningless-game-against-a-side-even-Ireland-are-capable-of-beating' outrage, the FA were clear about the extent of Rooney's involvement in the game. Rooney, they said, would come on for a late cameo at Wembley and would not be taking the armband off Harry Kane at any stage.

So, that's clear, right? That couldn't cause any further confusion over this game, could it?

Enter Harry Kane's comments to the Telegraph after Tottenham's European win last night.

Yes of course. He deserves it. He was a great captain for us. He was the captain when I first got into the squad. If he plays, of course he’ll be the captain.

Elsewhere, England women's manager Phil Neville has leaped to Rooney's defence over the entire farrago.

We're not talking about someone who has only 50 caps, we are talking about one of our greatest-ever goalscorers. I think that deserves recognition. You talk about greats, you talk about Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Gascoigne, Beckham: Rooney has scored more goals than any other male footballer in England, and I think that's something that's worth celebrating. I think that's something worth respecting and I think for those that are actually questioning it, it's those not that need questioning, not those that decided to have this game.

Wayne Rooney, the greatest goalscorer in England's history, the greatest goalscorer in Manchester United's history, and people are upset about him playing in a friendly game to say thank you, for the fans to say thank you to one of our greatest. That, to me, deserves celebration and I'll be there to celebrate, to see someone that I was lucky enough to play with at club and country.

The only way that this whole Saga can be topped is if Rooney grabs a microphone on the pitch post-game and reprise a famous line of the past.

Nice to see your own fans booing you, you football 'supporters'.


See Also: James McCarthy Gets A Massive Reception After Comeback From Horror Leg-Break

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