COMMENT:

A penny for Callum Wilson's thoughts if he's not in the England squad this week? Or if the 26-year-old Bournemouth striker does finally receive a call-up but stays on the bench as Wayne Rooney is indulged a 120th and totally meaningless final cap for his country?

Or if Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount or James Maddison - all in Gareth Southgate's last squad - do not play so 33-year-old Rooney can feature one last time more than a year after he retired from international football?

England manager Southgate recently warned young England players there would be no "easy" caps. Well, there is going to be one, with Rooney to feature in England's friendly at Wembley on November 15 against the United States.

Advertisement

Maybe it might give Harry Kane a bit of a rest? But then it should be someone who is going to be part of England's future who plays instead of him and not someone whose career for his country is long over.

There is a school of thought that England have somehow failed to honour previous greats who have retired - that they should follow the example of Germany, who allowed Lukas Podolski fanfare and a farewell (in a friendly against England), and of Holland, who did the same for Wesley Sneijder.

But Rooney retired from international football 15 months ago after turning down the chance to be part of World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia. He chose to go.

It can be argued a friendly against the Americans means little. So why play it? It comes just four days before England face Croatia in a Nations League match.

If Spain fail to beat the Croatians on the same night England face the US, England could win their group and qualify for next year's finals.

It means the US match is an occasion for vital preparation. As every England game should be. Not the 'Wayne Rooney Show'. This is not a slight on Rooney, more the belief and hope that England had moved on from such a personality-driven approach.

Including Rooney, even if it is effectively for charity, would appear to go against everything Southgate has set out during his time as England manager.

What now if a Premier League club pulls out one of its players and says to Southgate 'if you're not taking it seriously, why should we?' They would be perfectly within their rights during a hectic schedule.

Suddenly the build-up is all about Rooney. What message does that send to the others in the squad? The FA believe players such as Sancho, Mount and Maddison will benefit from spending time around Rooney. But surely they are already doing that spending time with a captain such as Kane who led England to a World Cup semifinal?

By all means honour Rooney. Hold a proper charity match, invite back other England greats, make it something appropriate. Make it a night of celebration. But don't do it when England are supposed to be playing.