It doesn’t seem long ago that Wayne Rooney was sat on the bench for Manchester United, watching on, debating his future. No longer a permanent fixture in the England set up, barely making cameo appearances for his club.
Since then he has taken a massive pay cut to be part of Ronald Koeman’s revolution, and made a dream return to Everton, the club where it all began, and it couldn’t have started any better. Two league games played, two goals scored. He looks like a player in love with the game again, playing for the club he always supported.
So it raised a question. With Gareth Southgate about to announce his squad for England’s upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, can Rooney once again re-enter the fold?
Kane has played well, but hasn’t scored yet, the same can be said of Rashford, and Sturridge. Would Southgate bring a seemingly rejuvenated, and goalscoring, Wayne Rooney back into his squad?
Fortunately for Southgate, he never had to make a decision, England’s all time top goalscorer took the opportunity to announce his retirement from international football.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) August 23, 2017
The fact that he has made the decision now, when he seems so close to regaining a place in the squad shouldn’t be surprising. His performances for England have been gaining more and criticism over the years, with fans constantly questioning his place in the squad.
But right now, for the first time in nearly a year he’s a wanted man for the national squad, and with World Cup Qualification almost a certainty at this point he could have taken the call up, and played the season with hopes of representing England on the world stage on final time, and having the heroes farewell.
However, Rooney knows his limitations as a player, and knows if he continues his current form for Everton then he will clock up his fair share of game time across four competitions. There is no need to involve himself in the England when he can be using the International break to recover and keep himself sharp for his club.
Englands remaining World Cup Qualifiers include home games against Slovakia, and Slovenia, and two away trips to Malta and Lithuania. He’ll gain nothing by involving himself in these games, especially if the current squad can finish the job without him.
If this is his final say on the matter then it has been a International career of highs and lows for the Everton front man. He’s set records since the beginning, becoming England’s all time youngest player at 17 years old and 111 days, a record which only lasted 3 years before Theo Walcott emerged on the scene. He took David Beckhams record of all time appearances for an outfield player, and has jumped ahead of Bobby Charlton as the countries all time top goalscorer.
For all the records he has set, it will always be debated whether he really was an England great.
Michael Owen once said that his career peaked between 18-20. Rooney’s club career obviously didn’t live such a shortened live, but his international career could be compared.
The 18 year old boy of Euro 2004, who scared the life out of France, and ripped through Switzerland, and Croatia, making England look like genuine contenders for a first European Cup has never really progressed from there. From the moment he was stretchered off against Portugal in the Quarter Finals of Euro 2004, we never got the same player back on the world stage.
Sad to see Wayne Rooney retire, doesn’t get recognition he deserves, we would have won Euro 2004 if he didn’t get injured pic.twitter.com/H0rDDXZ7T5
— Jess Matthews (@JMatth98) August 23, 2017
We got glimpses of the great player he once was seemingly every single qualifying campaign, he’d hit the ground running and wouldn’t stop, only to go into a tournament and dry up. Having only scored 1 goal in a World Cup campaign will always make us think of what could have been.
He’s cemented his legacy as an England great, but unlike Charlton, Moore, Lineker, he’ll always have questions marks over his name.
— England Fans (@EnglandFansTwi) August 23, 2017
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has been discussed that should an injury come up, or Rooney be on red hot form, that he’ll come out of retirement for one final hurrah at next years World Cup.