Why Did Wayne Rooney Retire So Early?


In the 2000s and 2010s, nobody in English football had a stronger desire and will to win than Wayne Rooney. The former Manchester United striker was beloved by fans due to his unrivalled work-rate and ability to score a variety of sensational goals. Given his love for the game, why exactly did the England great call time on his career so early?

Wayne Rooney retired because he wanted to focus on being a manager. He made the decision following his appointment as Derby County boss. Rooney previously played for the Rams while also serving as an assistant and interim coach. Once he received the manager’s job on a full-time basis, he did not want the additional responsibility of continuing as a player.

Including club and country, Rooney finished his career with 366 goals and 188 assists in 883 appearances. He achieved most of his success at Manchester United, where he scored 253 goals to become the club’s all-time record scorer.

When did Wayne Rooney retire?

Wayne Rooney retired on January 15, 2021, the same day he became Derby County’s manager on a permanent basis. He had already been in interim charge of the club for two months following the sacking of Phillip Cocu.

Although Rooney retired in 2021, his last official match as a professional footballer took place on November 25, 2020. Shortly after taking the Derby job on an interim basis, he played the full 90 minutes as the Rams lost 3-0 against Middlesbrough at the Riverside. Following that game, he stopped selecting himself in the team.

Rooney retired from football as one of the greatest players of his generation. At the time of his retirement, the Premier League Hall of Famer held the England and Manchester United goalscoring records. His Three Lions tally of 53 was later beaten by Harry Kane.

What age did Wayne Rooney retire?

Wayne Rooney was 35 years old when he retired. While 35 is the average retirement age for outfield players, it is not uncommon for high-level footballers to play into their late 30s. In all likelihood, Rooney probably would have played for a few more years had the Derby opportunity not come up sooner than expected.

“If you will ask whether I will miss playing then of course, every player misses it, but time doesn’t stop,” Rooney said after retiring. “I’ve had my time, it’s the time now of this younger generation coming through, and it’s about guiding them to be better players.”

To put Rooney’s retirement into context, here are the retirement ages of some of his former Manchester United teammates: Roy Keane (34), Nemanja Vidic (34), Ruud van Nistelrooy (35), Gary Neville (36), Patrice Evra (38), Paul Scholes (38), Ryan Giggs (40).

When did Wayne Rooney retire from international football?

On August 23, 2017, Wayne Rooney retired from international football after 14 years in the England set-up. He announced the decision after rejecting a call-up to be part of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia.

“It was great Gareth Southgate called me this week to tell me he wanted me back in the England squad for the upcoming matches,” Rooney said in a statement. “I really appreciated that. However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football.”

Rooney’s final England appearance came on November 15, 2018, a year after his international retirement. He returned one last time as the Three Lions beat the USA 3-0 in what was essentially a testimonial match.