Wayne Rooney ends England career after snubbing call-up

The 31-year-old, who was still England captain and is the all-time record goalscorer, had previously planned to retire after next summer's World Cup, but has rejected Gareth Southgate's invitation to return for the qualifying matches against Malta and Slovakia.

Wayne Rooney made the surprising decision to call time on his England career after learning that he was not in Gareth Southgate's plans for the World Cup finals next year.

Rooney leaves the England setup without ever sampling silverware, but he's cemented his status as one of the finest players to don the country's jersey.

Rooney says every time he as selected was a real privilege but believes now is the time to bow out.

He had alluded to what his priority was in his post-match interview on Sky Sports Monday after he joined Alan Shearer in scoring 200 Premier League goals - made sweeter as it came against Manchester United's city rival Manchester City.

February 2, 2003: Aged 17 years and 111 days, Rooney becomes the youngest player to play for England, in the 3-1 friendly defeat to Australia.

"Today marks the end of an era in global football".

England's lack of success during his time on the worldwide scene will always be a source of frustration and regret, but history may be kinder to Rooney on reflection upon an stellar career. Memory adds that most of his goals were forgettable, and holds up the early hype and his Manchester United success as unflattering reference points.

Gareth Southgate revealed discussions have been held with the FA over a tribute for Rooney 
Gareth Southgate revealed discussions have been held with the FA over a tribute for Rooney

In any case, worldwide tournaments are snapshots, four weeks every two years, and even for the best teams the stars have to align.

In this Wayne Rooney is the victor and Gareth Southgate the loser.

Rooney went on to play in three World Cups and two further European Championships, showing boundless commitment to the England cause, even if his performances never hit the heights. If they qualify, then England won't go into Russian Federation 2018 as one of the favorites.

May 8, 2006: After sleeping in an oxygen tent to aid his recovery, Rooney is named in England's World Cup squad by manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"He is England's top goalscorer". For all the occasional demands for Rooney to be dropped during his England career, there was rarely much proof they would have been a better team without him.

Suddenly he looks like the player who scored more goals for United and England than the great Sir Bobby Charlton, in other words one of the best this country has produced. The then 20-year-old harassed the Argentina defence all night and got the goal he deserved in the 38th minute when he latched on to David Beckham's flick-on and slotted the ball into the corner to equalise Hernan Crespo's opener.

In 119 games Rooney scored those 53 goals despite at times his own support questioning his talent and desire stating that he was "past it" and didn't have the legs for the task.

  • Julie Sanders