LONDON – Wayne Rooney has insisted there will be no going back on his decision to retire from England duty in a bid to at last enjoy a successful World Cup campaign.
The former England captain, charged with drink-driving on Friday, retired from international football last month, having scored a national record 53 goals in 119 appearances that included three World Cups and three European Championships.
And the Everton striker said even the fact that the 2018 World Cup in Russia was on the horizon would not lead him to change his decision.
“My mind’s made up,” he told talkSPORT radio on Sunday.
“I’ve seen it a few times when players come out of retirement and gone to tournaments, and it’s not right.
“I think the lads now who are trying to qualify for Russia, if they get there, they’re the players who will deserve to play in the tournament, so my decision is made.”
Rooney made his move despite England manager Gareth Southgate offering to recall him for the World Cup qualifier against Malta on Friday, a match England won 4-0.
England have won the World Cup just once, on home soil back in 1966, and Rooney’s three editions all ended in bitter disappointment.
He was shown a red card during the 2006 quarter-final defeat by Portugal, with England suffering a second-round loss to Germany in 2010 and failing to get out of their initial group in Brazil four years later.
Rooney said he had been particularly angered by the conduct of then-England manager Fabio Capello, an Italian, and his staff at the 2010 edition.
“At the World Cup in South Africa, Fabio and his coaches were watching Italy play, and they were jumping up and cheering when Italy scored, and he’s there as England manager. I don’t think it was right, but it didn’t work and we moved on.”
Rooney rejoined boyhood club Everton in the pre-season after a successful 13-year spell at Premier League rivals Manchester United that saw him win five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups, the Europa League and the 2008 Champions League, as well as becoming the Red Devils’ all-time leading goal-scorer.
But he started to become more of a bit-part player following the arrival at Old Trafford of Portuguese manager and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.
Rooney, however, has seemed rejuvenated by a move back to Liverpool-based Everton and scored in his first two Premier League games of the 2017/18 campaign, a 1-0 home win over Stoke City at Goodison Park and in a 1-1 draw away to Manchester City.
He was, though, arrested in the early hours of Friday morning and charged with drink-driving.
Cheshire Police subsequently announced he had been released on bail, with Rooney due to appear at Stockport Magistrates’ Court in north-west England on September 18.