England players have told Gareth Southgate their feelings on Wayne Rooney's return

Rooney will win his 120th cap

Wayne Rooney cannot have anticipated the level of controversy sparked by his unexpected return to international football.

The Three Lions' all-time leading goalscorer will make a one-off substitute appearance in Thursday's friendly against the USA.

The 33-year-old will earn his 120th cap almost exactly two years to the day since he last featured for the national side in a 3-0 victory over Scotland.

In some quarters, what is now being called 'The Wayne Rooney Foundation international', has been welcomed as a gesture to honour both the charity and the man himself, who never got a proper send-off after being told he was no longer in Gareth Southgate's plans.

However, it has prompted its fair share of anger too. The legendary Peter Shilton slammed the decision, quoted via the Mirror:

“I don’t agree with it at all. It should be the greatest honour and reward playing for your country but the reality is that the MLS is nowhere near the same level as the Premier League.

“To actually give him a game in what is a proper England international is completely wrong, in my opinion.”

Debate has also centred on whether the former skipper would be given the armband instead of Harry Kane and whether he should be allowed his old number 10 shirt back, which is currently worn by Raheem Sterling.

How do the players feel? 

Yet, according to the Telegraph, such matters do not concern the players themselves.

The newspaper suggest that senior members of the squad have now spoken to Southgate in private to give their blessing for Rooney captaining the team.

Rooney last played for England in 2016

The former Manchester United and Everton forward will not wear the number 10.

Kane has spoken publicly about the captaincy decision, insisting Rooney "deserves it".

Rooney looks in decent form 

England have released footage of Rooney's first training session back. He looks very sharp indeed.

At the very least, the DC United star will help to fill the void left by Danny Welbeck after the Arsenal striker suffered a horror injury on the same day he was called up to the squad.

It remains to be seen how many minutes Southgate will afford him, but he can do so in the knowledge he will not be upsetting his current players in the process. 

Do you agree with Rooney's call-up? Have your say in the comments. 

News Now - Sport News