The former captain has been called up for a one-off game against the USA on Thursday night at Wembley, and will win his 120th international cap as a second-half substitute.
However, Rooney revealed that he could have featured for the Three Lions in the build-up to the World Cup but did not want to distract the squad before the tournament - a decision which appears to have been vindicated as Gareth Southgate's side went on to finish fourth at the finals in Russia.
Speaking to reporters after joining up with the England squad at the FA's St. George's Park headquarters, Rooney said: "We were speaking probably for about 12 months about different ideas and there was an opportunity to do the game before the World Cup which I didn't feel was right, I think it wasn't the right time to do that.
"We both felt it was the right time to do it (now), my season in the States is over, and it's against the USA and it's a friendly match before the lads play against Croatia on Sunday. We all felt it was the right time and the right game."
On why the game did not take place before the World Cup, Rooney added: "I think because the players are obviously preparing for the biggest football event and I didn't feel it was right to get in the way of that."
Rooney was asked about the controversy over letting him win a 120th cap and replied: "I think everyone is entitled to their opinions.
"I think the most important thing, speaking with the FA we both felt it was right, and speaking with the players they agree that it's right."
Rooney added: "I think as a country we haven't done anything like this before and this is the first time and I hope that in 10 or 15 years' time we're sat here for someone, say Harry Kane, who could possibly go on and get the goal-scoring record.
"Of course it's something different and I'm not asking people to agree with it.
"I think what is important as well is that the game is going to go ahead, and that I'm going to take part, there would be money raised for the children through the Wayne Rooney foundation, which is important to me."
Additional reporting by the Press Association.