Wayne Rooney once named the best player he ever played with throughout his international career with England.
Rooney became the Three Lions’ record goalscorer in 2015 after scoring a penalty against Switzerland, and eventually scored a total of 53 goals for his country before his official retirement in 2018.
The forward, who was England captain between 2014 and 2017, also collected 120 caps for England – meaning he played with an entire generation of the nation’s best footballers.
In fact, out of the squad that Rooney played in when he made his England debut in 2003, he was the only active professional footballer at the time of his international retirement in 2018.
But who was the best player he played alongside for England?
In an interview with former England team-mate Gary Neville for Sky Sports in 2018, Rooney gave his definitive answer -and no, it wasn’t Neville.
He said: “It’s got to be Steven Gerrard.
“At times, he got us through games. At the period where, obviously, we lost a players – yourself, Rio, Becks. It was me, Stevie and Frank left.
“Stevie pulled us through our games then.”
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) November 15, 2018
Gerrard and Rooney played alongside each other for most of their respective England careers, with the Liverpool legend making his Three Lions debut in 2000.
Both players would also make their competitive tournament debuts at Euro 2004 – where Rooney burst onto the international scene.
And speaking to Neville on an episode ofThe Overlapwhile he was manager of Aston Villa, Gerrard revealed that the United icon was the England player he got along with the best. The respect, therefore, is mutual.
He explained: “I think Wazza is one of those people, especially when you’re away with your family, you need people like Wayne Rooney who are going to lift the room, or lift the day, or do something.
“I used to love being around Wayne, and obviously because we’ve come from similar areas and stuff I used to really love spending time with Wayne.”