England captain Wayne Rooney has confirmed that the 2018 World Cup in Russia will be his last act in international football.
Rooney, 30, kept hold of the England captaincy as new manager Sam Allardyce named his first squad since replacing Roy Hodgson as boss ahead of the opening 2018 World Cup qualifier in Slovakia on Sept. 4.
And the Manchester United forward, who played as a deeper-lying midfielder at Euro 2016, told a news conference that he would retire from international football at the age of 34.
“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,” he said.
“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. My mind is made up… Russia will be my last tournament.”
Having been deployed as a midfielder at Euro 2016, where England were sent home by minnows Iceland, eyebrows were again raised when Allardyce’s squad to face Slovakia included Rooney’s name among the midfielders.
Allardyce moved to clarify Rooney’s position in Monday’s news conference, stressing he was still considered an attacking player, and the former Everton striker insists he is happy playing anywhere for his country.
“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.”