England captain Wayne Rooney has declared his intention to retire after the next World Cup but believes that, at 30, he can justify his place in the national team for another two years.
Former skipper Alan Shearer was among those urging Rooney, who is England’s record scorer and has the joint-most caps of any outfield player, to quit before another major tournament cycle.
But Rooney insists he made up his mind to carry on after a disappointing Euro 2016 and, having been retained as captain by new manager Sam Allardyce, is planning a farewell at Russia in 2018.
“I’ve had a fantastic international career so far, played a lot of games and enjoyed every minute, but at some point it is going to come to an end,” he said.
“I’m not old – I’m 30 years of age – and come Russia I feel that will be the time for me to say goodbye. It is something I love doing and I made that aware to Sam when he got the job.
“Realistically I know myself that Russia will be my last opportunity to do anything with England so I’m going to try and enjoy these two years and hopefully I can end my career with England on a high.”
Rooney scored just once in four games in an experimental role as a deep-lying midfielder as England suffered an embarrassing last-16 defeat to Iceland at this year’s European Championships.
He has been restored to a more advanced position under new Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, and Allardyce has indicated he will deploy him similarly in his first game in charge against Slovakia on Sunday.
“It’s the manager’s decision,” added Rooney, who is set to overtake David Beckham by winning a 116th cap in that game. “I’m ready to play whether it’s midfield, No10 or striker.”
Allardyce has already made his mark, calling up uncapped West Ham winger Michail Antonio and attempting to lighten the mood by inviting comedians Paddy McGuinness and Bradley Walsh to host a quiz night for players.
Rooney, who made his debut in 2003 and has scored 53 goals, said: “Sam is a relaxed guy. The camp has been good, we have only had one session, but we are all excited about what ideas he can bring to us.”