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Record at 17 to striking down Scotland – Rooney's top five England performances

After Wayne Rooney announced his international retirement, we select his five best performances in an England shirt.

wayne rooney - cropped
Wayne Rooney celebrates a goal at Euro 2004

Wayne Rooney has officially retired from international football, bringing to an end a record-breaking 13-year spell with England.

The 31-year-old former captain finishes as the Three Lions' most-capped outfield player and all-time leading goalscorer, having netted 53 times in 119 games.

The Everton star has had a somewhat chequered England career and admitted upon his retirement that one of his biggest regrets was not to have matched his phenomenal success at club level with an international trophy.

However, Rooney certainly produced some memorable displays on behalf of his country, and here, we look at five of his very best.

 

MACEDONIA 1-2 ENGLAND (EURO 2004 QUALIFYING, 06/09/2003)

Having made his debut in a friendly defeat to Australia in February 2003, Rooney became his country's youngest-ever goalscorer in a Euro 2004 qualifying match in Skopje.

Georgi Hristov had given the home side an unlikely lead but Rooney struck seven minutes into the second half, steering home a first-time finish from Emile Heskey's knock-down.

It was a moment of history for Rooney, aged just 17 years and 317 days, and capped a fine display as Sven-Goran Eriksson's side claimed an important win en route to qualifying for Euro 2004.

 

CROATIA 2-4 ENGLAND (EURO 2004, 21/06/2004)

Having become the youngest player to score in a European Championship when he netted twice against Switzerland, Rooney produced a dazzling display to fire England into the knockout phase at the expense of Croatia.

He teed up Paul Scholes to cancel out Niko Kovac's early opener before blasting home from 20 yards to put England in front, and he swept home a cool second from Michael Owen's pass midway through the second half before Frank Lampard eventually made the points safe.

It was a vibrant performance, perhaps the best of what was an outstanding tournament for the forward, and ensured England progressed along with group winners France.

 

CROATIA 1-4 ENGLAND (WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING, 10/09/2008)

The onus was on England to regain some international pride after they missed out on a place at Euro 2008, and this performance – with Rooney at the heart – went a long way towards repairing the damage.

Against the team who pipped them to a spot in Austria and Switzerland with a 3-2 victory in the previous campaign, Rooney delivered an inspired display to help boss Fabio Capello enjoy a second qualifying win from two games.

Hat-trick hero Theo Walcott stole most of the headlines but Rooney, who got the other goal and set up Walcott's third, put in one of the most accomplished all-round performances he would ever manage in an England shirt.

 

ENGLAND 1-0 UKRAINE (EURO 2012, 19/06/2012)

This was not a tournament in which England especially distinguished themselves but Rooney produced a killer touch when it mattered to at least carry Roy Hodgson's side to the knockouts.

Having been suspended for their opening two matches, Rooney made the telling impact in a tough game against the host nation, nodding the ball home from a Steven Gerrard free-kick three minutes after half-time.

England were far from convincing but Rooney, with his first tournament goal in eight years, was a key figure in dragging them into the next round.

 

SCOTLAND 1-3 ENGLAND (FRIENDLY, 18/11/2014)

While it was not a competitive match, no encounter between England and Scotland is ever one to be dismissed as a mere warm-up game.

Now captain of his country following Steven Gerrard's retirement in July, Rooney closed to within three goals of Bobby Charlton's all-time record of 49 thanks to a double in his side's win at Celtic Park.

A clever close-range header and a fine finish from a slick team move proved to everyone what Rooney still had to offer on the international scene, while his somersault celebration showed that his desire to impress for his country was as strong as ever after 10 years.

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