Rooney set to retire from England after 2018 World Cup

Tuesday 30 Aug 2016
Wayne Rooney is in line to earn his 116th England cap

Wayne Rooney says he will retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The 30-year-old will captain the Three Lions during their qualifying campaign, having retained the armband following the appointment of Sam Allardyce as manager.

But England’s record goalscorer believes 2018 will be the right time to draw the curtains on his international career.

Slovakia v England

2018 FIFA World Cup
European Qualifiers (Group F)
5pm BST, Sunday 4 September
City Arena, Trnava

He said: “Realistically Russia will be my last opportunity to do anything with England so I’m going to try and enjoy these two years. Hopefully I can end my time playing for England on a high.

“I’ve had a fantastic international career so far. I’ve played a lot of games and enjoyed every minute. But at some point it’s going to come to an end, whether that’s [in] two years’ [or] four years’ time.

“I’m not old, but come Russia I feel it will be time for me to say goodbye to international football. That will be my last tournament. I’ve enjoyed some highs, some lows but I am an immensely proud man.

“Fifteen years of international football is a lot of years. I think that will be the right time to finish.”

Rooney is in line to lead his country out for the opening World Cup qualifier in Slovakia on Sunday – and if he does so he will become the most capped outfield England men’s player of all-time, surpassing the record of 115 caps he currently shares with David Beckham.

Rooney said: “It will be a proud moment. Every time I’ve played for England I’m proud to do so. It’s a huge honour for me. To do it more than any [other] outfield player will be great.

“It’s not just about playing, it’s about trying to win and that’s what I’ve tried to do throughout my England career and what I’ll continue to do for the next two years.”

He added: “It’s always nice to captain your country and I’m looking forward to this new regime.

Sam Allardyce's first squad arrive at St. George's Park

“Whether I was captain or not I was still going to be available for selection and I’d still be the same with the players. Of course, it’s a huge honour to captain your country and I’m grateful to Sam for giving me that opportunity.”

Rooney has been a fixture in the Three Lions set-up since 2003 and has played under Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello, Stuart Pearce and Roy Hodgson.

And now he is looking forward to working with the new man at the helm.

He explained: “It’s only a day we’ve been together but you can see [Sam’s] a relaxed guy.

“Since we’ve been here the camp’s been good. We’ve only had one training session so it has just been a matter of getting on the training pitch and seeing what ideas he’s going to bring. I’m sure this week we’ll get a better idea of how he wants us to play.

“If he gets the best out of the players we’ve got then he’ll do well because the ability is there. It’s just a matter of us doing well in a tournament."

Rooney continued: “It’s always exciting when you get a new manager. He’s going to have to get us to try and forget the [Euros] and move on and focus on this qualifying campaign.

“It’s an important one for us. We all want to win and we all want to be successful.

“I’m looking forward to getting back on the pitch. Obviously [I’ve got] bad memories of the last time playing for England, so it will be nice to get back out there playing and hopefully [get] a positive result.”

And Rooney found time to congratulate the newest call-up to the senior set-up, West Ham’s Michail Antonio.

He said: “He’s a very good player. He did well at West Ham last season, particularly moving positions.

“He’s started the season well. I think it’s a deserved call-up and I’m sure he’s anxious to get out on the training pitch and show Sam what he can do at this level."

By Glenn Lavery