Wayne Rooney is excited for England’s future under Gareth Southgate – but insists other former internationals are not so forthcoming in their support of the current squad.Thursday’s substitute appearance against the United States marked Rooney’s 120th and final appearance for the national team, having announced his retirement last year.
The former Everton and Manchester United forward came off the bench in his swansong outing and nearly marked his farewell at Wembley with a goal towards the end of a comfortable 3-0 triumph.
However, while Rooney is looking forward to cheering on the Three Lions from afar now as he winds down his career in MLS, he revealed some of his old England team-mates are not so happy with Southgate’s side doing well.
“I know there are some ex-players who I’ve spoken to who can’t come to terms with England doing well,” Rooney said.“That is wrong. I’m not like that. I’m a fan now. I want England to do well. I am proud to have played for England so many times and I always have been.
“I’ve had my time. I am happy with what I’ve contributed to the national team and I look forward now to the next few years and watching this team progress.”England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup but Rooney believes the 3-2 Nations League win away in Spain last month may be even more important for the squad’s growth.
He admits there is “huge” potential in the group of players working under the impressive Southgate, who has a depth of talent at his disposal that was not always there for his predecessors.“I think this is a great squad, with other players who can come in if there are injuries,” the 33-year-old said.
“I have also seen first-hand that they are getting coached right, with good ideas, and the players are responding well to that. Hopefully this team can be the one to bring a trophy home.“Everyone can see the potential in the team is huge. They have come off the back of a hugely successful World Cup, but in a strange way I think the game against Spain will give them even more confidence than what they did in the summer. “That was a massive result, to win away in Spain. To be around the squad, to see how Gareth is coaching, was great.”