Wayne Rooney, England's highest ever goal-scorer, brought the curtains down on his storied international career on Wednesday, turning down coach Gareth Southgate's offer to be part of the England team for next month's World Cup qualifiers. The 31-year-old former Manchester United star, who has scored 53 times in 119 internartional matches, is also second most capped player for England after former goalkeeper Peter Shilton. He replaced David Beckham as the country's most capped outfield player in Spteember last year.
Rooney was dropped by Southgate from England's matches against Scotland and France in June, but was named in the squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia next month.
"It was great that Gareth Southgate called me this week to tell me he wanted me back in the England squad for the upcoming matches. I really appreciated that," said Rooney in a statement sent to Press Association Sport.
"Having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football... Playing for England has always been special to me. Every time I was selected as a player or captain was a real privilege and I thank everyone who helped me," the former England star said.
Rooney had recently shifted to his boyhood club Everton, and had scored his 200th goal in the Premier League in a 1-1 draw with Machester City only a couple of days ago. Here's a look at the major moments and milestones from Rooney's international career:
– February, 2003: Rooney became the youngest footballer to play for England, aged 17 years and 111 days, when he debuted against Australia at Upton Park. Rooney came on as a second-half substitute, but it was not a happy debut for, with Australia getting the better of England that day.
– September, 2003: He became the youngest player to score for England at 17 years and 317 days when he netted against Macedonia in a Euro 2004 qualifier.
– June, 2004: Rooney entered his first big tournament in Euro 2004, and became the youngest scorer in the competition when he struck a brace in a group league match against Switzerland. He, however, was overshadowed as the youngest scorer in Euro history by Switzerland's Johan Volanthen. Rooney added two more goals in the final group game against Croatia, but then suffered in the quarter-final versus Portugal. He was subsequently named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.
– June, 2006: The World Cup in Germany was a bitter experience for Rooney. He somehow got fit for England's opening game versus Trinidad and Tobago. It was disaster for England and Rooney in the quarter-final against Portugal. The striker, who was not in the best of form, was red-carded for stamping on Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho. Rooney's Manchester United teammate, who was his opponent in that game, Cristiano Ronaldo got involved, with dramatic protests, much to Rooney's chagrin. This was one of the biggest controversies of the 2006 World Cup, exacerbated by Ronaldo winking at the Portuguese reserve bench after Rooney was ousted.
– 2009: Rooney became England captain for the first time in a pre-World Cup friendly against Brazil.
– June, 2010: The World Cup was again a sad one for Rooney. England did not start well, with a 1-1 draw against US and a 0-0 draw against minnows Algeria in their first two games. The England players were heavily booed during their match versus Algeria, and he reacted, criticising the fans. Rooney, who had been England's highest scorer in qualifying, went scoreless in the tournament proper, as England crashed out in the second round with a 1-4 annihilation at the hands of Germany.
– 2011: Rooney was sent off for a rash tackle on Miodrag Dzudovic in an Euro 2012 qualifying match against Montenegro. Rooney apologised for the tackle and sent a personal letter to the UEFA. He was suspended for three matches, which meant he would miss the group stage at Euro 2012. The English FA, however, decided to appeal against the ban. Rooney got support from Dzudovic as well. And eventually UEFA reduuced the ban to two matches.
– June, 2012: He returned in England's last group match in the Euro versus Ukraine and scored to take his team to the quarter-final. England though were shown the door by Italy in penalties in the quarters. It ended another poor harvest for Rooney and England in a major tournament. Coach Fabio Capello slammed Rooney's performance, saying he "only plays well in Manchester".
– October, 2012: Rooney captained his country for the first time in a competitive game when he was given the arm band in a 2014 World Cup qualifier against San Marino.
He also became England's fifth highest goal-scorer with his 30th and 31st goals in the same match.
– February, 2013: Rooney scored against Brazil in a 2-1 win in a friendly at the Wembly Stadium.
– June, 2013: He scored against Brazil in a 2-2 draw during the official reopening of the Maracana Stadium at Rio de Janiero, which was being renovated in view of the World Cup next year.
– October, 2013: He became England's all-time top goal-scorer in competitive internationals when he scored his 27th goal in a 4–1 World Cup qualifier win over Montenegro.
– June, 2014: He netted against Uruguay in the group stage at the 2014 World Cup, which was his first and only World Cup goal. England finished last in their group and were bundled out of the World Cup.
– September, 2014: After the retirement of Steven Gerrard, Rooney had been given the England captaincy and his first match as captain was in a friendly versus Norway, which saw him scoring a penalty to give his team the victory.
– November 2014: Rooney won his 100th England cap against Slovenia in a June 2015. He netted a penalty to equalise in a 3–1 win.
– June 2015: Rooney scored his 48th international goal in another Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia. It made him the joint second highest goal-scorer for England along side Gary Linekar, and one behind the legendary Bobby Charlton.
– September 2015: Rooney equalled Charlton's record as the all-time highest scorer for England when he scored against San Marino.
– September 2015: He scored his 50th goal in England colours in an Euro 2016 quaqlifier against Switzerland. With that he broke Charlton's England goal-scoring record. It was also his 300th professional career goal.
In the same match, which was his 107th, he equalled Ashley Cole as the country's fifth most capped player.
– June, 2016: The Euro was another major tournament that came and went. Rooney scored a penalty against Iceland in the second round, but could not prevent his team from being beaten and eliminated.
– September, 2016: Rooney earned his 116th cap for England in a 2018 World Cup qualifier versus Slovakia, making him the country's most capped outfield player, and second most capped overall.
– November, 2016: This match against Scotland would eventually prove to be Rooney's last in an England jersey.
– March, 2017: He was left out of the England squad by manager Gareth Southgate.
– 23 August, 2017: Rooney announced retirement from international football with immediate effect.
Published Date: Aug 23, 2017 23:34 PM | Updated Date: Aug 24, 2017 08:18 AM