England’s record goal scorer Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect. The 31 year old had already gone on record previously and said that he would retire after the 2018 FIFA World Cup but he has now bought that decision forward.
The player who is now just starting a second stint at Everton has got off to the best possible start with a goal in both matches for Ronald Koeman’s side. Goals that have earned the Goodison Park outfit four points from a possible six with their last run out being a well earned 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Monday.
Those goals set off some whispers about whether or not Rooney should be rewarded with a return to the England squad especially with an international break just around the corner. That may have given national team boss Gareth Southgate something of a difficult decision to make.
But Southgate will not have to make that choice as the player in question has made it for him what with his decision to retire today. People will perhaps ask the question as to why now but perhaps these two have had a conversation behind closed doors and Rooney has been informed that he has no longer part of the England teams plans.
It’s been apparent over the past few months that England and Southgate have been looking in a different direction, a direction that does not include Rooney. That should not come as no real surprise as the Manchester United record goal scorer was not pulling up any trees in his last season at Old Trafford.
Reduced to a peripheral figure under Jose Mourinho, what few opportunities he was granted in regards to first team football he failed to grab hold and it made it very easy for the former England captain to be quietly brushed aside from consideration for the national team.
Perhaps this is a scenario which suits all parties, especially the England team itself as it would have been undoubtedly weighed down by any potential clamour to recall Rooney to the squad if his form with Everton was sustained over long periods.
That would do neither player, manager or squad any good as if England fail on the pitch then the shadow of Rooney not being called up to the squad looms large, it becomes an unwarranted and unnecessary distraction for England as they look to complete qualification to the World Cup.
With Rooney now out of the picture by his own decision, England can now move on into a new era. Has Rooney taken the decision to save some pride as I would imagine repeatedly not being called up to the squad with dent your ego somewhat.
By doing this, it stops the mass debate that would no doubt be stoked up come May as to whether or not Rooney should be on the plane or not. By announcing his retirement earlier than expected then he gets to walk away from the international scene almost on his own terms.
This is not quite the way Rooney would have imagined doing so, the ideal would have been to have one last crack at glory in Russia but it seems as if his body has let him down over the past 12 months or so and that dream will fail to become a reality.
Will history be kind to Rooney from an international stand point, well he is England’s record scorer and it will be a record that is going to stay his for a long time but a failure to really kick on from that arrival on the scene back in Euro 2004 will always go against him.
Where prodigious talents have shone and then gone on to be even better, he didn’t quite reach the heights that many would have hoped and expected. Then again the weight of a nation on your shoulders can be a pretty unbearable one at times. An international career that hit relative heights but never reached stratospheric levels.