Gareth Southgate is considering giving Wayne Rooney the...

"/> Gareth Southgate is considering giving Wayne Rooney the...


Wayne Rooney Set To Take Raheem Sterling's No 10 Shirt For England Return Against The United States

6 November, 2018 | Olayemi

Gareth Southgate is considering giving Wayne Rooney the No 10 shirt for his England goodbye, in a move that could see Raheem Sterling relinquishing the jersey.

Sterling, fresh from last month's brilliant brace in the win over Spain, has established himself as one of England's best players.

However, he may have to give up his No 10 for Rooney's one-off international return against the USA on November 15.

In confirming Rooney's comeback, a picture of a shirt with 'Rooney 10' on the back was posted on England's official Twitter feed. Similarly, promotional material to advertise next week's clash has featured Rooney wearing No 10.

Plans for Rooney to wear the number he is synonymous with is being deliberated but Southgate is yet to make a final decision.

The decision poses an awkward dilemma for Southgate given Sterling's stature within his squad.

It remains to be seen if Sterling will be selected to start the friendly against the USA on November 15, as the crucial UEFA Nations League showdown against Croatia is just three days later.

Resting Sterling for the game — which is being called the Wayne Rooney Foundation International — could allow Southgate the option of giving Rooney the No 10 shirt without taking it off the Manchester City player.

Sportsmail understands that England players were not informed or consulted about the plan to include Rooney in the forthcoming squad, which will be named by Southgate on Thursday.

Likewise, it is believed Sterling has not been told of the possibility of wearing a different numbered shirt against the USA.

Allowing Rooney, who will make a brief substitute appearance, to wear the No 10 shirt would also see England break with tradition because, major tournaments aside, starters line-up from 1-11.

In one of his final appearances for England, Rooney came off the bench wearing the No 18 shirt with Dele Alli sporting 10.

However Sterling has since made the England No 10 shirt his own having cemented his position as one of Southgate's main men.

The England dressing room is torn over the merits of Rooney's controversial international comeback next week. Many of the players who will be named in Southgate's forthcoming squad have played with the 33-year-old, at club or international level.

Indeed, a number of players are said to be looking forward to working with Rooney for the final time and believe it is right that his superb international career is honoured. Equally, however, other players are concerned that Rooney's special return will take focus away from the games against the USA and Croatia.

There is also a feeling that it sends mixed messages, given Southgate's excellent work so far in trying to nurture a more youthful England senior team.

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