Antonio: Rooney deserves special England send-off

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The West Ham winger feels it is right for the Three Lions record goalscorer to be honoured with a memorable final appearance

Wayne Rooney has earned the right to enjoy a special England farewell, according to Michail Antonio.

Rooney will make his 120th and final international appearance in a friendly against the United States at Wembley on Thursday.

England's all-time leading goalscorer will wear the number 10 shirt and replace Fabian Delph as captain when he is introduced from the bench.

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Reaction to Rooney's return to international action after a two-year absence has been mixed, with Peter Shilton - the only player with more England caps - among those to criticise the move.

Players including Wesley Sneijder and Lukas Podolski have been similarly honoured by Netherlands and Germany respectively at the end of their international careers.

And Antonio, part of the England squad when Rooney was still playing for the Three Lions in 2016, backed the decision to hand the DC United striker a shock recall.

"I think with England, we should follow other countries like Germany. He's got 119 caps right now and this last cap will make it special for him," Antonio told Omnisport.

"He's the record holder with the number of goals he's scored for England and it's right for us to make a day for him and make it special. It's a special thing to play for England and to be a record holder. 

"I feel he deserves this day and any player who plays for England like him who retires should get a day like that as they have given their international duty to us."

Injuries have disrupted Antonio's career since he broke into the England squad and the 28-year-old has only started four Premier League games this season.

Crystal Palace are reportedly among the clubs willing to offer him a way out of West Ham and Antonio accepts he may have to consider leaving London Stadium.

"I'm feeling good, the team is doing well. I'm feeling fit and just waiting for my moment," the versatile attacker added.

"I'm just trying to play my football right now and whatever happens, happens.

"I'm not saying I'm going to leave and I'm not saying I'm going to stay. But right now, I'm not in the team and I'm trying to work my way back into the team."

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