Wayne Rooney's Wayne Rooniest England Moments

Captain, leader, legend... big pink angry man

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When it comes to recent national team icons, the French have been blessed by the sharp-jawed elegance of Zidane (head butt aside); the Italians with the imperious frame and enviable flow of Gianluigi Buffon; Spain by the diminutive wizardry and symbiosis of Xavi and Iniesta.

And England?

Well, England had a big pink ham with a right foot like a trebuchet. A kicking, screaming, swearing, scowling, brilliant, maddening Scouser who broke the all-time goalscoring record and was an absolute menace to San Marino and Andorra.

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With the announcement of his international retirement, we'll let the others dwell on "What could have been." Instead we prefer to focus on the good times; the sad times; the Wazza times.

These are Wayne Rooney's 'Wayne Rooniest' England moments.

We'll miss you, you big ham.

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That Euro 2004 Debut

Fucking hell, have you ever seen anything like it? A furious, monk-cut teenage maelstrom tearing across the sun-baked fields of Portugal? FINESSE header vs Portugal. BANG against Croatia; it's Wayne Rooney and he's coming to take your village and your clean sheet, EUROPE.

And then...

That Euro 2004 Red Card

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It was just a stamp, wasn't it? Just a little stamp? The most footballer-y, inconsequential nudge of the studs, Ricardo Carvalho flailing like a fresh-caught sardine and Our Hero Wayne dismissed to boos, cackles and ignominy. The debut of dreams reduced to dust after the slightest downward motion of one of those great white thighs.

How could you wink, Ronaldo? He was meant to be your mate.

That Argument With Beckham

There aren't any videos of this one, so you're just going to have to take our word for it... OK?

When Wayne Rooney signed for Manchester United in 2004, it was clear that the huffing, puffing striker was ready and willing to do anything Alex Ferguson asked of him.

And that included following up on the Scot's many grudges, if that heated World Cup Qualifying loss against Northern Ireland in 2005 was anything to go by. The then 20-year-old Agent Wayne started fighting with captain David Beckham during the game, and continued his rage in the dressing room. Becks probably cleared the space of spare boots beforehand though, just in case.

That Great Big Volley Against Russia... That Meant Nothing

Despite scoring 53 goals for Her Majesty's Big Brave Lions, Rooney's international career was something of a disappointment when it came to producing goals on the biggest stage, but every now and then he did; every now and then one of those great pasty traction engines would wuuuuurrrr into motion and he'd lash one in like he'd never left Croxeth.

Possibly his most-satisfying England goal, to see Rooney cushion the ball and then leather it like the Russian keeper has said his nan's Yorkshire puddings weren't up to scratch is to enjoy Rooney at his primeval, base, glorious best.

England still lost, though.

Of course they did.

That Record-Breaking Penalty Against Switzerland... That Meant Nothing

A tired man in 2015, Wayne Rooney steps up to the spot, delving deep inside his being to harvest just a drop of the teenage fury that made him the world's most-exciting football talent all the way back in 2003. He's done it all by now, has Wayne. The Champions League medal, the Premiership, the inevitable ennui and bored disappointment that's hung over every England team since '96. Can I just beat the record and go home?

The little stuttered run-up, the ol' pork thigh slamming through the ball for number 50. Top corner, record-breaker... the strange paradox of Wayne Rooney as a legend and a disappointment epitomised by this being a penalty against Switzerland inside the vacuum of Wembley.

Oh he was brilliant, though, wasn't he?