Wayne Rooney believes he will still be playing for England at 32 but is not making any promises of playing beyond the 2018 World Cup.
Rooney turns 30 next month and is desperate to add an international medal to his trophy cabinet before retiring. However, while he fully expects to still be playing come the next World Cup in Russia, he is not making any promises about European Championship in 2020, when the final will be held in London.
“Saturday was my 106th cap and 49th goal but, as much as I love playing for England and scoring goals, there would be nothing better than being successful with England,” Rooney said. “That’s all any player wants to do. I’m sure the other lads are no different.
“Winning something with your country is the ultimate goal and, if I don’t, I’ll be disappointed. Hopefully the young players in the future can but it’s the ultimate goal for me and that’s what I want to do – be successful with England. I hope France is not my last tournament. I still feel fine and I think I can go on to Russia and then see how I feel. But that’s not something I’m thinking about now. Everything has been geared towards Switzerland for a while. We knew we were going to beat San Marino, so we’ll be ready for Tuesday’s match.”
Rooney, meanwhile, will not be repeating his preparation from four years ago when he leads England into the Euro 2016 finals next summer.
Rooney was suspended for the first two games of Euro 2012 and, having picked up a toe injury, was granted extra time off in the build-up to the tourmanent, which he used to visit Las Vegas with his family. It is a mistake he hopes the younger members of the England squad do not repeat at the end of this season.
“Looking back, I regret that,” Rooney said. “I’ll certainly get my part right this time and, as a team, we are all building to being successful.
“It’s something I’ve learned. At the time I thought it was no problem, but now I know I obviously shouldn’t have done it. It’s flights and jet-lag. I was there with my family, but flying so far, it takes a while to get over the jet-lag. We’ve already discussed that and the senior lads in the squad will sit down with the manager and the staff organising the tournament to work out what we can do better this time. But maybe not having a long break between the season finishing is probably the best thing.”
With qualification for the finals already secured following England’s 6-0 win over San Marino, Rooney is already looking forward to friendlies against France in November and then Germany in March.
“The preparation starts now,” said Rooney. “It’s good we have some tough friendlies coming up. It will be a chance for us to show ourselves against good nations and good teams. I believe we have a very good squad but we have to go and prove that.
“Playing better teams, especially for some of the lads who haven’t been to tournaments before, and against better players, will give us that confidence for what’s coming up. We know we can’t go out of a tournament like we did last year [in Brazil]. If we are going to be successful, we need to find a way to make it work. It’s something we’re working on.”