The former England captain, record goalscorer and most capped outfield player brought the curtain down on a distinguished global career with a substitute appearance in the 3-0 friendly victory over the United States at Wembley.
However, Sancho revealed Rooney, who got 32 minutes of game time on his final England appearance, gave him a much needed boost before kick-off.
Rooney, who joined Major League Soccer's D.C. United in July, entered in the 58th minute in his 120th global appearance, the most among England outfield players.
England fans came to Wembley on Thursday to celebrate the career of their greatest scorer, Wayne Rooney, and left singing the praises of 18-year-old Jadon Sancho, who gave a wonderful performance on his first start.
"In some ways it's probably better it didn't go in", he said.
Should England avenge their World Cup semi-final defeat by Zlatko Dalic's men at Wembley, they can build on the progress made in Russian Federation this summer by qualifying for the semi-finals of the inaugural Nations League.
"The way they are being coached is brilliant". There will be widespread changes when Croatia visit in the winner-takes-all Nations League encounter at Wembley, where Rooney's speech saved the players from a critical post-match debrief on Thursday night.
"If we're going to be ruthless, we've got to make sure we do that right the way through the game".
"It would be a dream come true", Wilson said.
I came on for one minute in the Europa League final.
"It's been exciting, looking back on Wayne Rooney's career, he was one of the best players for the country and it was good to share the pitch with him. As a local Liverpool lad, it is good to show people in Liverpool that it is possible".
The stakes will be more meaningful Sunday in the next game at Wembley.
During the encounter, Rooney substituted Jesse Lingard as he stepped into Wembley in a number 10 English shirt for the last time on Thursday night, and the Three lions did not disappoint after claiming a 3-0 win over U.S. 3-0. Rooney had a hand in Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson's goal.
"I asked Harry Kane to present me with the award because I believe he will beat my goalscoring record and I look forward to presenting him with the trophy", Rooney added.