Former England and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer has encouraged Wayne Rooney to retire from international football and in turn focus solely on his Manchester United career.
Rooney came into the 2016/17 on an unwelcome wave of criticism after he captained England to another tumultuous failure at a major tournament. Since then, the captain has struggled to find his feet in the No.10 role under Jose Mourinho with many supporters calling for the 30-year-old to be dropped.
In a column for The Sun, Shearer, who retired from international football at the age of 29, claimed retirement from the England side would help Rooney rediscover some form at Old Trafford.
“This is a Manchester United squad of real depth and power and Rooney needs to be producing at the highest level to make sure he stays in it,” he wrote.
“It is time for Rooney to be selfish and start thinking just about himself. And that, I really regret to say, means his retirement from international football.
“I don’t say this in the belief that he is no longer good enough for England — he is. But he is 30 now and captaining your club and country, satisfying the demand to play at the top level for both, gets harder.”
Hanging up your boots for the national side is a difficult but necessary thing to do. Rooney ought to examine the case of Paul Scholes, who retired in 2004 in the interest of sustaining his Man United career. Ryan Giggs did the same in 2007, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has recently made the same move.
The examples in question prove that jettisoning the international side can reinvigorate one’s club career. And with such a rich array of attacking options at Mourinho’s disposal this season, Rooney desperately needs to do everything within his power to maintain a place in the 53-year-old’s starting XI.