LIKE many football followers and so-called experts, I was surprised by Wayne Rooney’s decision to call time on his England career.
I still believe, as I wrote a couple of days ago, that the 31-year-old still has a lot to offer the national side. And that Gareth Southgate should recognise that.
But, having been left out of the England squad on two occasions, and with Southgate set to announce his squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers, Rooney has decided to jump before he is pushed.
Rooney’s club boss Ronald Koeman says the England legend’s decision to retire from international football was a ’good one for him and a good one for Everton’.
But then he would say that wouldn’t he? Koeman doesn’t give a damn about England.
Harry Kane looks set to take over the captain’s armband from Rooney who, already, some are suggesting might make a U-turn and play in next summer’s World Cup finals.
I think not. He’s made his mind up; he obviously doesn’t get on with Southgate – and there’s not turning back.
England’s record goalscorer doesn’t have anything left to prove. Been there, done that.
So maybe the time is right. Koeman certainly thinks so.
As the tributes to Rooney come pouring in from all angles, the Everton boss said: “He had a talk with the national coach and made his decision, because he thinks it is the best for Everton.”
As quoted on teamtalk – http://www.teamtalk.com/news/everton-boss-koeman-backs-rooney-retirement-call – Koeman added: “It is always the player’s decision, and of course, I respect that.
“If you reach the group stage of the Europa League and have international duty, then that is a really tough programme.
“I think it is a good decision for him and a good decision for Everton. It means when the internationals come, he will have some time at home with his family.”