By 90Min
September 07, 2017

As he retires from international football, England captain Wayne Rooney can look back on a national team career to be proud of.

In 119 appearances for his country, the 31-year old scored 53 goals, making him the all-time leading goalscorer for England, having overtaken Sir Bobby Charlton back in 2015. Yet unlike his predecessor at both England and Manchester United, Rooney is neither widely-adored nor treated with the same level of respect.

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With his retirement from international football, now should be the time that the Everton star is finally afforded the respect he deserves.

Making his international debut back in 2003 against Australia, Rooney had already established himself as a star in the making by the time Sir Alex Ferguson brought him to the Red Devils for a deal in the region of £26m. Almost straight away, the new darling of English football had endeared himself to the United faithful, scoring a blistering hat-trick in a 6-2 Champions League win over Turkish side Fenerbahçe.

He continued this impressive form for several years. Rooney racked up at least 20 Premier League goals and assists combined every season, up until the 2014/2015 campaign. He could be lethal in front of goal, scoring 27 goals in 2011/2012 - whilst also being a creative presence from midfield, reaching double-digit assists five times with United.

Yet over the years, the forward has come under intense criticism for his failure to deliver. His goal tallies started to fall after 2011/2012 (even as his assist numbers remained strong), and it was clear he was struggling to make an impact. Furthermore, his off the field antics antagonised fans.

Even so, Rooney has since become something of an under-appreciated talent. Whilst he may not be as prolific in front of goal, he remains an immensely talented offensive player who - when motivated - can dominate in the upper third of the pitch.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

His return to boyhood club Everton appears to have reinvigorated his spirits, with the newly-returned star having already scored two goals in as many Premier League games. This simply reinforces the fact that when he is locked in, he is an effective offensive player, and deserves far more recognition than he has received from fans around the league.

As the record goalscorer for both Manchester United and England, Wayne Rooney is undoubtedly a name for the history books. 

Now that he has retired from international football, Rooney can focus on his time at Everton - and just maybe start getting the respect his footblegacy merits.

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