Alan Shearer reveals he advised Rooney to call time on international career and feels striker has made the right choice
WAYNE ROONEY has called an end to a fantastic England career — and he deserves all the plaudits he will receive.
I was slightly surprised when I heard yesterday’s news because Wayne had said he wanted to carry on until next summer’s World Cup.
He was also going to be recalled by Gareth Southgate, his form so far this season would have warranted that.
But Wayne has obviously had a long, hard think about it and wants to concentrate on giving everything back to Everton — and I believe he has made the right decision.
The reason I advised him to stop playing for England after last summer’s Euros was because I was aware how much I benefited from it. You don’t want to pack it in. You never look forward to that day.
But, unfortunately, age comes to us all. I stopped playing for England after Euro 2000 aged 29. I’d had three serious injuries, so I felt I had no choice.
Now, after feeling so refreshed having had a summer off, Wayne has probably had the same thought process I had.
And the fact is — if you are going to prolong your club career — then it’s very, very difficult to do both jobs at the highest level.
His move to Everton has clearly done him the world of good and he wants to give his all for them now.
He looks sharp, he looks confident, he looks to have a bit of bounce back in his game.
And I believe his decision to retire from England has definitely given him more of a chance to go on and break my Premier League goals record.
He joined me in the 200 club with his opener at Manchester City on Monday night — and I congratulated him on Twitter. Now he will have my tally of 260 Premier League goals in his sights.
I have always said that his chances of catching me would all depend on his fitness.
So with him now not travelling halfway around the world, not taking part in World Cups and Euros, he will have a much better chance of avoiding burnout and injury.
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While I am enjoying holding the record, if someone was to go on and break it, then he would be a great bloke to do it.
Knowing Wayne, I’m sure he will find it difficult not being with England in Russia next year. I know from personal experience that sitting at home and watching your country is hard.
But he will also enjoy what he’s had this year, which is an extended break. And he definitely deserves it after what has been a brilliant international career.
Wayne said yesterday that one of his “very few regrets” was not being part of a successful England tournament side.
Well, he’s not the first to say that. And I tell you what, he will not be the last either.
It is true that, other than 2004, it hasn’t really gone for Wayne at major tournaments. But he’s also gone into a lot of tournaments with the country’s hopes on his back.
And that has probably been unfair because, most of the time, England haven’t been good enough as a team or a squad — and he’s had to carry the brunt of that.
Wayne doesn’t always get the appreciation he deserves from some of the fans.
But he served his country with grace, with honour, with passion and with commitment.
Unlike a lot of England players, he was never one to pull out of a squad for anything other than a serious injury.
And having spoken to him, I know what great pride he got out of being captain. He loved the job and everything that went with it.
So you can’t fault his attitude. He gave absolutely everything to England and is their record goalscorer on 53. All I can say now is congratulations to him.