Former England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted he was surprised that Wayne Rooney quit international duty before the World Cup and believes the country’s record goalscorer deserves greater recognition for his achievements.
Since making his debut for the national team in 2003, Everton forward Rooney went on to find the net 53 times in 119 appearances but elected to retire from the international scene in 2016.
Hodgson, who spent four years in charge of the Three Lions, is in the dark as to why the 32-year-old quit, but does say that he merits to be considered in the highest esteem.
“I thought he would try and continue to get to the next World Cup,” the Crystal Palace boss admitted.
“I was a little surprised when he retired. He knows that because I've spoken to him. These are decisions players have to make.
“I'm not party to all those facts and considerations he's thought about. But one thing I do know is England owes him - he owes England nothing - because he gave his all for England and did more than his fair share of what someone could expect for England.
“When the day comes when he says he wants to retire, even if it surprises a guy like me because I know how passionate he is about playing for England, I am very sure he's had good reasons for coming to that decision.
“His record alone would put him in the category of the greatest I’ve managed.”
England have been named in the group of second seeds for the World Cup draw, which takes place on December 1.