Exclusive – It’s over! Wayne Rooney insists there will be no u-turn on England retirement
The Everton striker announced his retirement from international duty last month after turning down a call-up to the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.
Manager Gareth Southgate claimed he would consider trying to persuade Rooney to come out of exile for next summer’s World Cup in Russia if he felt it was the right thing to do, but Rooney insists he will not be answering his country’s call.
“My mind is made up,” he said in an exclusive interview with talkSPORT’s Mark Saggers. “I’ve seen that happen a few times where players have come out of retirement and gone to tournaments, and it’s not right.
“The lads now who are trying to qualify for Russia, if they get there, they’re the lads who will deserve to play in the tournament. So my decision is made.”
But while Rooney will not be in Russia in body, he will there in spirit.
“I’ll watch as a fan,” added the Three Lions’ record goalscorer. “I’ve made it clear throughout my career I love England and I want England to do well and that remains, even though I won’t be playing.
“I’ll be watching with the same interest as everyone else. I’m sure we’ll qualify for Russia and then hopefully we can go that next step in the tournament.”
And Rooney believes that, unlike the Golden Generation of which he was a part, if the current crop of players are given time they could end England’s 50-year wait for glory.
“You need to be patient and hope in four to six years the lads can win something,” he said. “Sometimes as well we’ve got to be honest with ourselves and say we’re not quite good enough.
“We’ve got the talent, but to get to the levels of Germany or Spain, I don’t think we’re quite there yet. I think we can get there with the players we’ve got, but it’s going to take time. But we might see something special in the next four or six years.”
Listen to the full interview with Wayne Rooney on talkSPORT today at 1pm
Wayne Rooney Foundation
Wayne set up his Foundation to use his status to help vulnerable children and young people and improve their lives. He chose the NSPCC, Claire House Children’s Hospice, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Manchester United Foundation as beneficiaries. WR organised for all profits from his United testimonial against Everton last year to go to these chosen charities. So far he has raised £1.2m and aims to generate more income and awareness for the charities to go towards lasting projects for children in the north west and nationally.
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