Wayne Rooney will not play again for England after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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Speaking ahead of England’s opening 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovakia this Sunday, Rooney confirmed the next World Cup will be his last major tournament with England.
Rooney, 30, is the all-time leading goalscorer for England with 53 goals and he has once again been named captain of the English national team under new manager Sam Allardyce.
The Manchester United skipper spoke to reporters at England’s training HQ at St. George’s Park and confirmed his plans to retire from international duty in 2018.
“I know myself that Russia will be my last opportunity to do anything with England. I am going to try and enjoy these two years and then hopefully I can end my time playing for England on a high,” Rooney said. “I am not old. I am 30 years of age. Come Russia I feel like that will be the time for me to say goodbye to international football. My mind is made up. It’s down to Sam Allardyce again, in terms of the next two years, but that will be my last tournament if selected. I will have enjoyed some highs, some lows but I am an immensely proud man.”
Rooney first played for England as a 17-year-old in 2003 and over the last 13 years he has played six major tournaments for the Three Lions, captaining them since 2014 when Steven Gerrard retired from international duty.
So often criticized, especially in recent months after being dropped into a deeper midfield role by Hodgson for England and Louis Van Gaal at his club, Rooney is still the talisman for England. He will become the all-time leading appearance holder for an outfield player when he next plays for England, surpassing David Beckham’s record of 115 caps. The former Everton striker is only 11 appearances away from equaling legendary goalkeeper Peter Shilton’s record of 125 appearances.
When all is said and done, despite disappointments at major tournaments (the kick at Ronaldo at the 2006 World Cup and the rant at England’s fans at the 2010 World Cup stick out) Rooney will go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, players to ever play for England.
His legacy will remain intact no matter what happens between now and the end of the road in the summer of 2018.