Manchester United and England forward Wayne Rooney has announced he is set to retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Rooney has retained the England captaincy under new boss Sam Allardyce, ahead of this weekend’s qualifying opener in Slovakia.
The Three Lions striker will be 32 when the tournament starts in a couple of years time. He has 115 England caps, and will overtake David Beckham into second place on England’s all-time list, behind only goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
Rooney announced: ‘Russia will be my last opportunity to do anything with England. Hopefully I can end my time with England on a high.’
‘Come Russia, I feel that that would be time for me to say goodbye to international football. Obviously it is up to Sam, but if that is where my England career comes to an end, it will be after some highs and some lows but as an immensely proud man.”
“I started playing international football at 17, so at 32, in two years time, I will have been playing at that level for 15 years and I think that is a good time to finish.”
Rooney is his country’s leading goalscorer with 53, and the 30-year-old is focused purely on getting a result in Trnava on Sunday.
‘It would be a proud moment,’ said Rooney of his potential record breaking appearance. ‘But every time we’ve played, I’ve said I’m proud to do so.
‘Playing for England is a huge honour for me, so to do it more than any other outfield player would be great. But it’s not just about playing. It’s about trying to win.’
By Steve Osborne @BlizzardSteve75