Wayne Rooney, England’s record goal scorer and captain, will retire from international football after the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
Rooney disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday for the first time since his new England manager, Sam Allardyce, confirmed he would keep the 32-year-old as his captain.
“After Russia 2018 World Cup, I feel that will be the time to say goodbye to international football. I have scored 53 goals in 115 England appearances and my mind is made up.
“It is still two years away. I started playing professional football when I was 16, and started playing internationals when I was 17.
“So, 15 years is a lot of time and I will be 34 by the next tournament and it is time to quit.
“I have had a fantastic international career so far. I’ve enjoyed every minute.
“If I play in Sunday’s World Cup qualifier in Slovakia, I will break David Beckham’s record for the most capped outfield England player.
“Russia will be my last opportunity to do anything with England. So, I’m going to try to enjoy these two years and hopefully I can end my time with England on a high,’’ he said.
Rooney said he was yet to discuss with Allardyce what position he would play.
He said he was a midfielder during Euro 2016 under Roy Hodgson, who left his post after the shock last-16 exit to Iceland.
Under new United boss Jose Mourinho this season, he has played behind the striker — which is where Allardyce has told the media he would play for England.
“Obviously it is the manager’s decision. We have not really spoken about it, but we will in the next couple of days.
“I am ready to play whether it is midfield, number 10 or striker,’’ the Manchester United player said.
Rooney said he was backing former Bolton, West Ham and Sunderland boss Allardyce to help England achieve more at international tournaments.
He said England have not lost a qualifier since 2009, going unbeaten to reach Euro 2012, 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
The forward, however, noted that they have not won a tournament knockout game since the 2006 World Cup.
“If he gets the best out of our players, then he will do well,” he said.
“The ability and talent is there. It is just a matter of us doing well in a tournament. We are a small margin away.
“He will want to find out why we keep tripping up. The managers and players have not found out why, but Allardyce will try to find out why it is happening.
“We have seen a lot of teams overachieve with him as manager. That is down to the way he has got them playing. Hopefully, he can