Wayne Rooney has confirmed that he will retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, providing he is selected for the tournament by new England manager Sam Allardyce.
Rooney captained England to the embarrassing Euro 2016 last-16 defeat by Iceland in the summer, but has been retained by Allardyce in order to lead his side ahead of their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup. Rooney will be 32 years old by the time the tournament begins in Russia, and the Manchester United forward believes the time will be right to end his England career that will have spanned 15 years by the time he hangs up his boots on the international stage.
Allardyce confirmed on Monday that he will reinstate Rooney to his familiar No 10 role after Roy Hodgson’s failed experiment at deploying the captain in a holding midfield position at Euro 2016, with former Sunderland manager Allardyce preparing for his first match in charge of the Three Lions against Slovakia on Sunday.
Speaking at a press conference at St George’s Park on Tuesday, Rooney said: “Realistically I know myself that Russia will be my last opportunity to do anything with England. Hopefully I can end my time with England on a high.
“I said before the Euros I enjoyed playing in this team, and that’s the case still. There were some questions about whether I should stop playing, but I am looking forward to getting back on the pitch.
“I made my mind up before the Euros, whether we did well or not, that I was going to continue. I’ve had nothing to think about since then.”
While Rooney admitted that he will end his England career in 2018, he was also keen to stress that he had to remain in Allardyce’s plans in order to go to the World Cup.
He added: “My mind is made up… Russia will be my last tournament.”
Allardyce was keen to stress that Rooney will play in a similar role to that at United, bringing an end to Hodgson’s midfield experiment with the 30-year-old that was used for the first time in England’s opening group game against Russia in France. The skipper said that he is yet to hold a conversation with Allardyce about his best position in the England team, but accepted that he will play wherever Allardyce sees fit to deploy him.
“It’s the manager’s decision,” added Rooney. “We haven’t spoken about that, in the next few days we’ll speak about it more, whether it’s as a midfielder or attacker.
“It’s only a day we’ve been together, but you can see he’s a relaxed guy, and since we’ve been here the camp has been good. It’s just a matter of getting on the training pitch.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the pitch. We have bad memories from the last game obviously. We have to put it behind us.
“It was disappointing the way we went out of the tournament, you can’t forget it, but it’s a new era for us, a new manager.”