England captain Wayne Rooney insists he will “never retire” from international football, saying it is a “huge honour” to represent his country.
Rooney has another chance to rewrite the history books on Tuesday when Wembley hosts England’s latest Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland.
The England skipper equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s scoring record with his 49th goal against San Marino on Saturday and given that he has scored nine in his last 11 games for England, there is a good chance he will bring up his 50 against the Swiss.
Twelve years after he opened his England scoring account with a strike against Macedonia, Rooney still has just as much enthusiasm about playing for his country.
And for that reason, he does not have any plans when it comes to ending his England career – he will leave that to someone else.
“I won’t be one to say I’m not available for selection,” the Manchester United forward said.
“I’m sure it’ll probably be the manager’s choice more than mine. It’s a huge honour to play for England.”
How many goals will Wayne Rooney finish his England career with?
With England now qualified for Euro 2016, Rooney will spearhead the Three Lions at his sixth major tournament next summer.
And there is no reason to believe he will carry on playing beyond the World Cup that follows in Russia two years later.
He said: “I feel I’m capable of going to Russia. After that, it may be a realistic time to see how I feel and if I feel it’s not right for England or myself, I’ll have a decision to make.
“Or the manager would have a decision to make. If I feel I can carry on, I’ll try. But if the manager says he doesn’t feel I’m in his plans for the next tournament, it’s probably better I don’t play in the qualifying games because I won’t be going to the tournament.”
The last man who tried to crack Charlton’s record, Gary Lineker, fell one short.
He would have equalled the tally had he not missed a penalty against Brazil or scored in the four appearances that followed.
Rooney, on the other hand, has time on his side. He would still like to finally put the constant talk of the record to bed, however, and he feels there would be no better place to do it than at the spiritual home of football.
“Wembley is probably the most iconic stadium in world football and it would mean a lot for me to do it there but it will happen where it’s meant to happen,” he said.
“If it does happen it will be good to get it out of the way.”
Rooney’s wife Coleen travelled to Serravalle to watch her husband play 58 minutes of the 6-0 win and the couple’s five-year-old son Kai was there too.
The latter will not be there on Tuesday, but the tape of his father breaking the record will be watched again and again over the coming years – regardless of where it happens.
“I don’t think my children know what’s happening,” said Rooney, who has another son named Klay.
“My eldest lad Kai is starting to get into football a lot and he is wanting to go to a lot of games. Unfortunately he can’t go tomorrow night because of school.
“It would mean a lot to them, to my wife and my parents and for my children when they have grown up to see my achievements.”
Plenty of assessments have been made about whether Rooney deserves to be regarded as a great.
His England career, like his club one, has been something of a roller-coaster.
Clashes with Sir Alex Ferguson, who revealed this week that Rooney had turned United down twice as a teenager, have now been forgotten, it seems.
“I don’t know if anyone knows how things ended,” Rooney said.
“I still see Sir Alex quite a bit at games, and he travels away to European games with us. We had differences (of opinion). That’s normal.
“I’m not the only person who had differences with Sir Alex Ferguson, but I can still sit here and say he was the greatest manager of all time. It’s not that we don’t like each other. We just had differences. That’s normal.”
Rooney’s Manchester United team-mate Michael Carrick is out of the Switzerland game with a calf injury.
A point will be enough for England to win the group with two matches to spare.