England still need Wayne Rooney, says Sven-Goran Eriksson
Last Updated: 23/08/17 3:17pm
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson believes Wayne Rooney should still be going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia as his country needs him.
Eriksson, who managed Rooney between 2001 and 2006 when he was England boss, is disappointed the Everton striker will no longer be available to current England manager Gareth Southgate.
"I think it's a pity. I think he still can play in the national team. It's a pity he will miss the next World Cup for England," Eriksson told Sky Sports News.
"If I was the manager I would try to convince him to delay it (his international retirement) until after the World Cup.
"Knowing Rooney, if he decides something I think he will stick to that."
Wayne Rooney is an icon of his generation and an undoubted legend of the game.
Eriksson said he felt criticism of Rooney for not delivering in major tournaments was not justified.
He added: "You don't score that amount of goals if you are not a top-class football player.
"I hope he will change his mind to come back for the World Cup. I think England still needs him."
Rooney's retirement from international football marks the end of an era, according to Football Association chairman Greg Clarke.
The Everton striker will not be part of Southgate's plans to face Malta and Slovakia in World Cup qualifiers next month, with the England manager set to pay his own tribute on Thursday when he names his squad to play those two fixtures.
Clarke said: "Today marks the end of an era in international football.
"Wayne Rooney is an icon of his generation and an undoubted legend of the game.
"As his country's all-time leading goalscorer and most-capped outfield player, it goes without saying that Wayne has deservedly earned the right to forever be called a Three Lions great.
"I know it was always a huge honour for Wayne to pull on the England shirt and he led his country as captain with great pride.
"It's with sadness that we see Wayne call time on his international career but we respect his decision and expect to see him continue to contribute to Everton and the rest of the football world for many years to come.
"From street footballer to England captain, Wayne continues to be an inspiration for all."