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Wayne Rooney Reveals England Retirement Plan for After 2018 Russia World Cup

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 30, 2016

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  Wayne Rooney of England talks during the England Press Conference at St George's Park on August 30, 2016 in Burton-upon-Trent, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

England captain Wayne Rooney has confirmed he'll retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup. 

Rooney addressed the media on Tuesday, just a day after Sam Allardyce announced the Manchester United veteran as his captain, and the Times' Henry Winter provided confirmation of his big reveal:

Henry Winter @henrywinter

Rooney: "Russia will be my last tournament. My mind's made up. I've enjoyed some highs and some lows." He'll be 32. #eng

The announcement starts a two-year countdown until the striker's departure from the national team, already sitting as the Three Lions' all-time top scorer with 53 goals in 115 appearances for England.

The 30-year-old will have been a part of the national side for 15 years by the time of his planned departure, and Rooney was eager to stress satisfaction with his career, per the Press Association's Rich McCarthy:

Rich McCarthy @VJRichMcCarthy

Wayne Rooney reveals he'll retire from @England duty after Russia 2018 @PAdugout https://t.co/J1psjpeIij

Rooney made his England debut in 2003 and is the joint second most-capped player for the national team, level with David Beckham and just 10 behind Peter Shilton.

However, broadcaster Deji Kofi Faremi was quick to point out England manager Sam Allardyce may not necessarily keep the attacker around until the 2018 World Cup:

Deji Faremi @deejayfaremi

Wayne Rooney says he will retire from international football after 2018 World Cup. Not if Sam Allardyce retires you before then!

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The former Everton prodigy earned a great deal of his England caps as a striker, but just as has been the case at Old Trafford, Rooney has retreated into more of a midfield role for the Three Lions of late.

Moving forward, the versatile leader said he's happy to help Allardyce in attack or as a more supplemental figure, via the official England Twitter account:

England @England

🎥 @WayneRooney: "I'm ready to play, whether it's as a midfielder or striker." #threelions https://t.co/J0PTVNj0I2

England face Slovakia in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on Sunday, where Rooney will become the most capped outfield player in the team's history if he features as part of Allardyce's debut at the helm.

Ben McAleer of WhoScored.com joked that the heat of Qatar was partly to blame for Rooney's decision not to extend his career until the 2022 World Cup:

Ben McAleer @BenMcAleer1

I'd imagine this is because Rooney would seriously struggle in the searing heat of Qatar https://t.co/35zkTXlobk

Many Manchester United fans will be glad to hear news of Rooney's international exit, knowing it means they might yet see their captain preserve his club career for several years thanks to that decision.

For now, though, England supporters will react to the news that one of their most celebrated sons enters the final phase of his Three Lions career.

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