But England’s all-time leading scorer put an end to that conversation by surprisingly announcing that he is retiring from international football with immediate effect.
Rooney said, in a statement to Press Association Sport:
“It was great that Gareth Southgate called me this week to tell me he wanted me back in the England squad for the upcoming matches.
‘However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football.
‘It is a really tough decision and one I have discussed with my family, my manager at Everton and those closest to me.
‘Playing for England has always been special to me. Every time I was selected as a player or captain was a real privilege and I thank everyone who helped me.
‘But I believe now is the time to bow out.
‘Leaving Manchester United was a tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton. Now I want to focus all my energies on helping them be successful.
‘I will always remain a passionate England fan.
‘One of my very few regrets is not to have been part of a successful England tournament side.
‘Hopefully the exciting players Gareth is bringing through can take that ambition further and I hope everyone will get behind the team.
‘One day the dream will come true and I look forward to being there as a fan – or in any capacity.’
Rooney announced himself on the international stage at the 2004 Euros where as an 18-year-old he was brilliant, scoring 4 goals and being named in UEFA’s Team of the Tournament as England went out in the quarter-finals against Portugal. A game that Rooney got injured in.
The knock on Rooney was that he never reproduced that form again on the big stage for England and criticism that is hard to overlook, especially when Rooney only scored 3 goals combined in all international tournaments since 2004.
Where does Rooney stand amongst all-time England greats? Is he Top 10? Top 5?