United States goalkeeper Brad Guzan happy to spoil Wayne Rooney fairytale
LONDON -- U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan said he didn't think twice about denying Wayne Rooney a fairytale goal on his 120th and final England appearance at Wembley on Thursday.
Rooney came on to a standing ovation in the 58th minute with England already 2-0 up thanks to first-half goals from Jesse Lingard and Trent Alexander-Arnold, but a combination of Guzan's saves and last-ditch U.S. defending prevented the 33-year-old from marking the occasion by getting on the scoresheet himself.
Callum Wilson netted his a goal on his England debut to make it 3-0 in the 77th minute, and after the match Guzan said he and his defenders were determined to stop Rooney as the home side repeatedly force-fed him the ball in dangerous positions.
"I was saying to our defenders that obviously they were trying to get him to score, so we had to get close to him," Guzan said. "It was as clear as day that they wanted him to score, so I said that to one of our centre-backs and he turned around and said, 'I know they're trying.'
"It's a special night for him and his family. Full credit to the English FA for putting on a night like this for him."
Asked if he felt like the pantomime villain of the piece as he exasperated Wembley by keeping Rooney at bay, Guzan replied: "Listen, you're not thinking about things like that, you're just trying to keep the score as low as possible.
"You laugh and joke about it afterwards but in the midst of the game you're not really thinking about it. You're just trying to keep the ball out."
Guzan embraced Rooney on the pitch at the final whistle, and the D.C. United striker went into the the visitors' dressing room after the match to be presented with a commemorative U.S. shirt with the number 120 on the back.
"He was appreciative," Guzan added. "He talked about moving over from England, enjoying his time over there, coming into our league. He was appreciative of that, appreciative of the gesture, and ultimately us coming here.
"I just said, 'Congratulations, you've had a fantastic career.' We shared some words in the tunnel afterwards. It's been a good move for him going to America. He's settled, his family really enjoy it, so I was pleased to be able to see him get back to playing with a smile on his face and enjoying his football."