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Should Wayne Rooney retire internationally to focus on Manchester United?

Manchester United is off to a perfect start and in the third match of the Premier League, fans were reminded of the classic “Fergie Time” winners during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford. A stoppage time winner from local lad Marcus Rashford rescued the three points for the Red Devils after the 18-year-old came off the bench about 20 minutes before. The goal came from a wonderful run from United captain Wayne Rooney down the left flank and the veteran striker cut across at the byline and picked out Rashford just feet away from the goal. Thanks to the important last-gasp play from Rooney, United came out on top. Rooney is the scapegoat and has been for years, when United struggle. He has received plenty of criticism this season during his play at United. Now that club play will pause for a brief international break, Rooney will have to shift focus back to his England captaincy. Former Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer thinks that Rooney should do like he did and retire internationally to focus solely on United. Shearer wrote about it in a column for the Sun.

“I don’t think there was anyone else on the pitch who could have done that. Rooney still possesses magic in those boots, even if they don’t go as quickly as they used to.

“But 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.”

Rooney’s incredible career will see him as leading scorer for England and United, with only three goals away from equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s club record of 249 goals. He passed Charlton for the England record in 2015. For Rooney, the big picture has to be at the forefront of his mind. This United team is playing better than any of the post-Ferguson squads have ever played. The lineup is fresh, the manager is modern, and the signings are gifted footballers. Time is catching up to 30-year-old Rooney, and he has to figure out his priorities. A move to MLS would most-likely kill his England career, which leaves him in a difficult spot. Does he put all his energy into playing for United? Shearer looks at it in terms of major tournaments. If Rooney believes he can be effective for England in 2018 at the next World Cup, he should continue with the Three Lions. If not, the former Evertonian should hang up his international boots and target a consistent run with United.

“What Rooney has to think about is not  necessarily how he is feeling now, but how he will be in two years’ time. That is when the next finals will be in Russia and England can get there without him.

“But can he still have an influence in Russia 2018 if he keeps playing for both until then?

“Then he has to think about the fierce competition for places at Manchester United. The days are gone when he was the first name on the team sheet no questions asked.

“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.

“Rooney can feel no shame if he takes the decision. He has been selfless in his approach to England, often playing through injury to make sure he represents his country. He is our all-time record goalscorer and wears that shirt with pride.

“He has adapted to  different positions to suit various managers. Now it is time to think about himself. No matter how painful it might be, that means retiring from England and international football.”

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