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Wayne Rooney urged to reconsider England retirement by Sven-Goran Eriksson

Wayne Rooney can still play at the highest level for England and should delay his retirement, says former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

football Updated: Aug 23, 2017 19:58 IST
OmniSport
Wayne Rooney,England national football team,Sven-Goran Eriksson
Wayne Rooney can still bring quality to the England set-up, according to former manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. (REUTERS)

Wayne Rooney to delay his international retirement until after next year’s World Cup because “England still need him,” believes former Three Lions manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The Three Lions’ record goalscorer on Wednesday announced his decision to stand down from England duty after 119 appearances and 53 goals.

Swede Eriksson handed a then 17-year-old Rooney his international debut in 2003 in an infamous 3-1 defeat to Australia at Upton Park and watched as herose to prominenceon the global scene with a series of sparkling displays at Euro 2004.

He has rarely hit those heights again in an England shirt but Eriksson still feels he has plenty to offer Southgate’s men.

“It’s a pity, he can still play at the highest level. If I was the manager I’d try to convince him to delay it untilafter the World Cup,” he told Sky Sports News.

“You don’t score that amount of goals if you’re not a top-class football player, so for me Wayne Rooneywas great, he is great and I hope he will change his mind and come back for the World Cup. England still need him.

“When we picked him we hoped that he would be a big player, a big star, and he became better and better. For England he was a fantasticfootballplayer.”

Rooney, 31, has divided opinion over the course of his 14-year England career, but Eriksson insisted the statistics speak for themselves, adding: “Many times he has been criticised but facts are facts, the games he has played for England and the goals he has scored for England.”

Everton forward Rooney had been tipped for a recall after scoring twice in his first two Premier League games –taking his top-flight tally to 200 –since returning to Goodison Parkfrom Manchester United.

But in a statement he announced that, despite Gareth Southgate calling him to discuss a return to the squad, he wantedto step away to focus on his club career on Merseyside.

First Published: Aug 23, 2017 19:56 IST