Upon announcing his retirement from international football, Wayne Rooney has revealed that not playing in a successful England side is one of his few regrets.
Having left Manchester United to return to his boyhood club Everton in the summer, Rooney has seemingly been given a fresh lease of life and has scored twice in as many games for his boyhood club. This led to suggestions he would be called up to the England squad for next month’s fixtures, but when Gareth Southgate made the call, the forward rejected the opportunity to add to his cap tally.
Instead, Rooney told the head coach of his decision to no longer be considered for international duty. This means the 31-year-old bows out with 119 appearances for his country, and his 53 goals makes him their top goalscorer of all-time. However, despite this honour, he can’t hide away from the fact that failing to be part of a successful national side is one of the few regrets he has in the game.
“I will always remain a passionate England fan,” said Rooney. “One of my very few regrets is not to have been part of a successful England tournament side. Hopefully the exciting players Gareth is bringing through can take that ambition further and I hope everyone will get behind the team. One day the dream will come true and I look forward to being there as a fan – or in any capacity.”
Rooney will now dedicate all his time to Everton, who have made a positive start to the new season with a 1-0 win over Stoke City and a 1-1 draw at title favourites Manchester City. They are also on the verge of qualifying for the UEFA Europa League, a competition he won last season with United, and he is convinced he made the right decision to quit Old Trafford for Merseyside in the summer.
“Leaving Manchester United was a tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton,” added the forward. “Now I want to focus all my energies on helping them be successful. It [quitting England] is a really tough decision and one I have discussed with my family, my manager at Everton and those closest to me. But I believe now is the time to bow out.”