Hits and misses of Wayne Rooney's international career
Earlier yesterday, England's all-time leading goal scorer Wayne Rooney announced his retirement from international football. Manager Gareth Southgate called up Rooney and asked him to be involved in the upcoming international fixtures. However, he informed Southgate about his decision over the same phone call. Here, we take a look at his international career for the Three Lions.
The beginning of 'Roomania'
Rooney became the youngest player to play for England at 17 years and 111 days when he featured in a match against Australia in 2003. However, it wasn't until the Euro 2004, that Rooney shot into the limelight. Aged just 18, he emerged as the most talked-about player of the tournament as he shredded opposition's defence apart. That is where it all began.
England fans had found their talisman
Euro 2004 was the tournament which made Rooney and many felt England would have won if he didn't get injured. However, his stratospheric rise sent the fans' expectation through the roof. They believed that there was finally someone who could end the years of frustration since the World Cup win of 1966. They believed winning the 2006 World Cup was a real possibility.
The regrets that will haunt Rooney
His failure to make a mark in any major tournament will always taint Rooney's legacy. At the 2006 World Cup, he was sent off in quarter-final against Portugal for stamping on Carvalho. England lost this match. 2010 and 2014 World Cups were disappointing for the entire England team. While Rooney was one of England's better performers in 2014, England's early exit remains an abiding memory.
Rooney's career in numbers
Rooney had a marvellous international career for the Three Lions. He finished as the country's leading goal scorer with 53 goals in 119 appearances. In terms of appearances, he is just short of former goalkeeper Peter Shilton's 125. With his retirement, Rooney goes down in history as one of England's greatest ever talents.