Ryan Giggs has supported the England return of Wayne Rooney by congratulating it as an opportunity to recognise a “reputable player”.
Rooney, 33, is playing in Major League Soccer with DC United and has not played for England virtually two years.
But the ex- Manchester United attacker will come out of international retirement for the Wembley friendly against the United States on November 15 to make his 120th appearance in an England shirt.
Rooney’s coming back has provoked debate, with some labelling it as a fitting send-off for England’s record goal-scorer and others saying it devalue the winning of caps and makes a ridicule of international football.
“I understand it. It’s a celebration game against America and I’m all for it,” said Wales manager Giggs, who spent a decade playing alongside Rooney and also later coached him at Old Trafford.
“In football, and in sport in general, people are not recognised or recognised too late. This is a chance for not only a great player, but an iconic player and top goal-scorer.
“He’s gone ahead of Gary Lineker and Bobby Charlton, over 50 goals. It gives him a chance to thank the fans for all the support, and the fans to thank him for all the work he’s done over the years.
“I’ve worked with Wayne, played with Wayne, and he doesn’t get recognised for what ability he still has and did have at his peak.
“I understand people have got different opinions but, from knowing Wayne and what he’s done for England, I don’t see any problem with it.”
Rooney turned 33 years last month and at the weekend, ruled out a loan deal to a Premier League club once the MLS season has resolved – even though David Beckham and Frank Lampard returned to play in Europe during the MLS’ off-season.
Giggs legendarily played until he was 40 as he went on to make a record 963 appearances for United – and he feels Rooney will want to play for as long as possible.
“It looks like he’s enjoying it out there,” Giggs said.
“I saw one of the goals he made when he chased back, slide tackled and crossed. That is brilliant to see.
“He’ll always score goals because he is a goalscorer. I think he’s got 12 goals in 20 games, and it looks as if he’s really enjoying life in America.
“He’s a footballer who’ll want to play for as long as he can, I know that. But whether the body can take it up to 40 we’ll have to wait and see.”