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David Beckham's classy tribute to Wayne Rooney after England retirement

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Wayne Rooney will undoubtedly go down in history as one of England's most under-appreciated players.

Which is pretty crazy when you think about it. He is England's all-time leading scorer with 53 goals and finished his international career just six appearances short of Peter Shilton's record 125 caps.

And yet there are some fans who felt the 31-year-old never quite fully achieved his potential for the Three Lions. Probably a little harsh.

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Rooney's biggest critics will always point fingers at his record in major international tournaments - just seven goals. But let's face it, he was not the only one of England's so-called 'Golden Generation' to struggle to live up to the public's extremely high expectations.

The 31-year-old also had the added burden of being captain for the last few years of his international career, a responsibility which can prove a hindrance to even the very best players.

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Of course, tributes from old teammates and fellow England players have poured in since Rooney announced he would no longer be available for selection on Wednesday.

And one man who knows exactly what it is like to carry the weight of a nation on their shoulders is David Beckham.

Beckham, who captained his country 59 times, also wore the armband when Rooney was first brought through into the England setup in 2003.

England's midfielder and captain David B

He has posted the perfect tribute to Rooney's retirement with an extremely classy Instagram post.

"When this young kid aged 17 walked into this first game for his country it was like he had been playing for England for years," Beckham wrote.

"I had the pleasure of captaining a side that had Wayne Rooney in it because as a captain you want players that have passion, desire and a winning mentality and that's what Wayne was all about which is why he went on to break records for club and country.

"Personally I'm sad to see him step away from playing for England because one of the reasons our fans love him so much is how much wearing the three lions means to him and that will be missed."

"Wayne was a special talent, is a special talent and will continue to be that special talent that we all love... 119 OUT"

Rooney may continue to divide supporters for the rest of his playing career but those who have had the pleasure of playing alongside the now former England striker know first-hand how much he valued playing for his country.

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