But England manager Southgate has no doubt having Rooney in camp will have only taught his players valuable lessons.
Wayne Rooney will wear the number 10 shirt and captain's armband when he comes on for his final England appearance in the friendly with the United States. It was a great game but unfortunately I couldn't get the goal.
Focus on number 10 switched from Downing Street to Wembley on Thursday evening as the Three Lions' all-time top scorer and most capped outfield player brought the curtain down on his worldwide career once and for all.
'We had a really inexperienced team out there again, so they've come through and learned a lot, and we've paid our respects to one of our greatest ever players.
"I didn't like us without the ball as much".
Critics of the decision to turn the match into a tribute, and 120th and final cap for Rooney, anxious that bringing back a 33-year-old went against Southgate's youth policy. "It will be a huge night for Wayne and we want to make it special for him".
The latter wrapped up victory on a night that also saw Lewis Dunk and Alex McCarthy make their global bows, with 18-year-old Jadon Sancho handed his first start as the Three Lions looked to the future while also paying tribute to one of their greatest players. "We gave Wayne the tribute he deserved", he told Sky Sports.
"We knew that would be a tough game because I think probably the first game they've had at home since the World Cup with a crowd in, so it would have been an electric atmosphere".
So the former Manchester United star bows out of the global game with 53 goals to his name.
DC United forward Rooney now returns to his post-Major League Soccer season downtime as England focus on winning Nations League Group A4 after Croatia shocked Spain 3-2 on Thursday.
"We've had some exciting games already and Sunday now becomes a really big game for everyone to look forward to".
'It's brilliant. It sets up a really good finish to the year here.