Wayne Rooney understands why his international return might divide opinion but hopes such occasions become the norm for England greats of the future.

Nobody has scored more goals for the national team, nor has any outfield player represented the Three Lions more, but news of the 33-year-old’s one-off comeback appearance against the United States still split opinion.

The debate over Rooney’s 120th and final cap dominated a packed press conference previewing the friendly, but the DC United forward brushed aside those questioning the decision to recognise in contribution.

Instead, the former Manchester United and Everton great hopes this will become the norm for stars of the future.

“I think everyone is entitled to their opinions,” Rooney said of a match that will support the Wayne Rooney Foundation.

“The most important thing is, speaking with the FA, we both felt it was right. The players obviously who I have spoke to and the FA (I) have spoken to, they agreed, they think it is right.

“As a country, obviously we haven’t done anything like this before. It’s the first time.

Wayne RooneyRooney feels England has not honoured its players properly in the past (Nick Potts/PA)

“I hope that in 10, 15 years’ time, we’re sat here for someone say Harry Kane, who could possibly go on and get the goal-scoring record.

“Then it will be something that happens again and of course it’s something different. I am not asking people to agree with it.”

While Rooney would have loved the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer to come into the dressing room during his playing days, his return has been slated by the likes of all-time cap holder Peter Shilton and his former interim England boss Stuart Pearce.

“I think we all know that a lot of the older players, particularly the players who won the World Cup, weren’t treated as well as possibly they should have been,” he said.

“But that’s through no fault of the members of the FA or coaching staff today. I think the FA are trying to move in a different direction and celebrate the players who have made an impact for their country. So, it’s going to split opinions because it’s the first one, but hopefully in the future there will be a lot more.”

It will be an emotional end to his international career, two years on from last pulling on an England shirt in a 3-0 win at home to Scotland.

The 33-year-old was dropped from the following squads before calling time on his international career in August 2017 – a decision that meant he was not able to bid a proper farewell to the Three Lions fans.

Thursday’s friendly gives Rooney the chance to do just that, while his commitment to DC United means Thursday could be the last time he steps foot on a pitch in England.

“I made the decision to obviously go to the States, and when I make a decision then I tend to stick with it,” he said.

“It’s important to me that I give my full commitment to DC, so obviously I’ve seen talk of a loan move back here, which I’m not prepared to do.

Wayne RooneyRooney rejected the suggestion he might play in England again on loan (DC United)

“I’m finding my feet in the States and my children now go to school there, so it wouldn’t be fair on them for me to come back and have them moving back and forward. No (there is no chance I will come back to English football). I’ll finish my career there.”

Striking the balance between being authoritative and humble, Rooney confirmed that he turned down the chance to bid farewell in the World Cup warm-up friendly against Nigeria.

This farewell was a year in the making and the forward believes this is the “right time and the right game”.

“I’m not putting (on) any pressure,” Rooney said.

“I’ve seen bits saying: ‘should he wear the No.10, should he wear the armband? I’m not making any demands or saying: ‘I want to do this or that’.

Gareth Southgate, left, and Wayne RooneyRooney, right, has not put any pressure on Gareth Southgate about how long he will play against the United States (Mike Egerton/PA)

“My message to Gareth was ‘you get what you want out of the game from your players, and when you feel it’s right to bring me on, that’s fine for me’.”

Rooney praised the work being done by “fearless” Southgate, who he was captain under during the manager’s interim reign.

The 33-year-old was impressed and proud in equal measures when watching England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals, but there was no tinge of regret about calling time on his international career.

“No,” Rooney said. “My decision, I believe still now, was the right decision.

“I could see the younger players coming into the squad and I just felt it was the right time for me obviously to stop playing, the right time for those younger lads to have the opportunity to step up.”