Eurosport - Wed, 01 Apr 07:34:00 2009
Gary Lineker will make a sensational return to international football to help ease England's striker shortage for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley.
The 49-year-old England legend, who scored 48 goals in 80 appearances for his country and was top scorer at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico, announced his decision to stunned media.
"I've thought long and hard about this, and I really think I have something to offer to Fabio Capello and England," Lineker said.
"I've been keeping myself fit by running on the world's best beaches and playing football in the garden with my kids, and there comes a time when talking about football just isn't enough anymore. If David Beckham can still do it, so can I."
With Emile Heskey, Carlton Cole and Darren Bent all ruled out for Wednesday's crucial qualifier, TV pundit Lineker is expected to slide straight into England's starting line-up alongside 23-year-old Wayne Rooney - who was understandably thrilled at news of his return.
"Gary is an England legend and it really doesn't matter that he's old enough to be my dad," Rooney said.
"The gaffer (Fabio Capello) got us together yesterday and he really thinks this could be the strike partnership we've been looking for. Gary is a natural goalscorer and I think we'll work well together."
Lineker is second behind Bobby Charlton on the list of all-time England goalscorers and could overtake the 1966 World Cup winner with a brace against Ukraine.