Don’t expect Wayne Rooney to take on the role of national hero anytime soon, as the 31-year-old insists he won’t come out of international retirement in order to feature at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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The Three Lions currently sit atop Group F in World Cup qualifying, two points clear of their next opponents, Slovakia (on Monday), and could clinch their place at next summer’s tournament as early as October 5, when they host Slovenia at Wembley Stadium.
First things first, of course, Rooney must deal with the legal proceedings resulting from his arrest for suspected drunk-driving on Friday. Even then, he sounds like a man who’s made a final decision and plans on sticking to it. Here’s an excerpt from an upcoming interview on talkSPORT, which is set to air in full on Sunday — quotes from the Guardian:
“My mind’s made up. I’ve seen it a few times when players come out of retirement and gone to tournaments, and it’s not right.
“I think the lads now who are trying to qualify for Russia, if they get there then they’re the players who will deserve to play in the tournament, so my decision is made.”
It’ll be mighty interesting to see if Rooney changes his tune seven months from now, 1) when the mid-March international window rolls around, and England are set to play a pair of friendlies against similarly World Cup-bound sides;, 2) if his strong start to the 2017-18 Premier League season (a goal in each of the first two games before drawing his first blank against Chelsea last weekend) turns into a prolific half-season; and, 3) when the inevitable rash of injuries to two-thirds a the strikers currently ahead of him in the pecking order.