JOHANNESBURG - Former England captain Wayne Rooney retired from international football this week as England’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Rooney netted 53 goals in 119 appearances for the Three Lions in a stellar career which began when former England manager Sven Goran Eriksen handed Rooney his full international debut at the tender age of 17 back in 2003.
Wayne Rooney's England debut
During the Euro 2004 tournament, Rooney became the youngest scorer in the competition but unfortunately suffered an injury against Portugal in the quarter final, ending his tournament.
England were eliminated after losing on penalties.
File: England's midfielder and captain David Beckham (R) congratulates his teammate Wayne Rooney after his goal during Euro 2004. Credit: AFP
Rooney v Ronaldo at the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany
Rooney was shown a red-card during a 2006 World Cup quarter-final against Portugal for stamping on defender Ricardo Carvalho.
The incident made waves around the world as Rooney's Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, openly sought some kind of punishment for Rooney from the referee.
Ronaldo however, was then seen winking at the Portugal bench, an act interpreted as Ronaldo purposely tried to get the England striker sent off.
Rooney: The Number 10
Former England manager Fabio Capello, built the entire England team around Rooney as his number 10 during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
File: England's striker Wayne Rooney walks towards Algeria's midfielder Djamel Abdoun to shake hands at the end of the 2010 World Cup group C first round football match between England and Algeria on June 18, 2010, at Green Point stadium in Cape Town. Credit: AFP
A frustrated England drew 0–0 in a group match against Algeria, prompting English fans to boo their players, after a less than average performance.
Rooney was seen as the villain after he somewhat sarcastically criticised the fans for booing the England team when he told cameras while walking off the pitch, “Nice to see your home fans boo you, that’s what real support is.”
Rooney later apologised for his words and ended the tournament without finding the net.
Rooney was given the captain's armband for the first time in a FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier against San Marino in 2012.
Rooney ended England’s 2014 qualifying campaign in fine form, as he became his country's record goal scorer after he netted his 27th competitive goal against Montenegro.
File: England's captain Wayne Rooney (2nd L) scores his second goal during the 2014 World Cup qualifying football match between England and San Marino at Wembley Stadium. Credit: AFP
Following the international retirement of Steven Gerrard, then-England manager Roy Hodgson named Rooney as England's new official captain.
Rooney went on to lead England 23 times before his international retirement.
Wazza's last appearance for England came in November 2016 against Scotland.
File: Wayne Rooney celebrates England's first goal during the Euro 2016 knockout phase against Iceland at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on June 27, 2016. Credit: AFP
Wazza returned to Everton last month after being frozen out of United manager Jose Mourinho’s plans at Old Trafford.
Rooney has taken to life back at his boyhood club as a rejuvenated figure, after finding the net twice in two games at the start of the 2017/18 season.
Current England manager Gareth Southgate, who had also turned his back on Rooney’s selection for the national team, was not blind in noticing Rooney's new found form at Goodison Park and had made a call to Rooney before the Everton man announced his retirement.
The former United striker said he wants to concentrate only on life back at Everton and feels the time is right to call time on his legendary international career.
Rooney will, without a doubt, be remembered as a true English football legend.
Wayne Rooney: all 50 goals for England