Although the Wayne Rooney Foundation won’t receive any of the gate receipts from the Wayne Rooney Foundation International between England and the USA, it makes sense for this fixture to act as the former Manchester United and Everton man’s send-off.
Having taken the plunge and moved across the Atlantic to DC United, Rooney has fully bought into the challenge, becoming a driving force in the side’s run to the MLS play-offs.
Now, this transatlantic friendly will see him pick up his 120th and final cap. Our friends at Football Whispers are here to preview you the fixture.
What will England’s line-up be?
With an important Nations League match against Croatia looming on the horizon on Sunday [link to FansBet], this is a chance for Gareth Southgate to play a slightly more experimental line-up.
Reports suggest that Jadon Sancho [link to FB Eng abroad] will get his first start for the senior side, after a fantastic start to the season that has seen him among the best assist-makers in Europe.
Other newcomers to the squad, like Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, seem likely to get a chance to play as well. Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Harry Winks are three midfielders who could see the match as a chance to prove themselves, with first-team options like Jesse Lingard or Jordan Henderson perhaps in need of a rest ahead of the Croatia game.
Wilson, Sancho, Barkley and Loftus-Cheek are all priced at
between 2.00 and 5.00 as anytime scorer with FansBet*
How will Rooney do?
Rooney will come on as a second-half substitute during the match for his cap, but any arguments that he doesn’t deserve to be around the first team for a friendly against the United States are off the mark.
When he joined DC United, the club sat bottom of the MLS’ ten-team Eastern Conference. Granted, they had several games in hand over the teams above them, but they were still dead-last on a points-per-game front. The play-offs looked a pipe dream.
Since Rooney’s debut in mid-July, DC have been the third-best team in the conference on a points-per-game front, just behind the hugely impressive Atlanta United, whose Miguel Almiron has been linked with moves to top European clubs.
In 20 appearances, Rooney scored 12 and set up another six, including the most Wayne Rooney assist imaginable, sprinting back 50 yards to stop an opposition breakaway, slide-tackling the opponent, before taking the ball back up the field to cross it for a last-minute winner.
While Rooney isn’t the player he once was, he still has that essence of what made him great. Only he and Southgate will know how much of the game he’ll be given, but if he’s on the pitch for a reasonable amount of time then he could cause the USA damage.
What about the USA?
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the USMNT has taken over a year to find a replacement for Bruce Arena as manager of the side. They’re still manager-less.
There hasn’t been much consistency in the starting line-up either, although Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic and Paris Saint-Germain’s Timothy Weah are the attacking stars of a side that will be led by caretaker boss Dave Sarachan.
British-born Antonee Robinson and Cameron Carter-Vickers could play, but aren’t guaranteed to by any means.
Their results of late haven’t been impressive. In September, they lost to Brazil but beat (a ten-man) Mexico; last month they lost to Colombia and drew with Peru. Despite the two attacking starlets, the team as a whole isn’t a strong one.
There don’t tend to be many clean sheets in their games though, the USMNT generally proving to be strong enough to get at least one goal but weak enough defensively to concede as well.
*odds subject to change
Leave a comment
Follow FB_Whispers on Twitter