England’s record goal-scorer and former captain Wayne Rooney on Wednesday announced that he is retiring from international football with immediate effect.
Rooney, 31, was dropped from the England’s squad by manager Gareth Southgate for matches against Scotland and Spain in June. However, he was in line for a return after scoring in Everton’s opening two matches of the season.
Rooney joined Everton, his boyhood club, in the summer after 13 years at Manchester United. He responded by netting his 199th and 200th Premier League goals in Everton’s 1-0 win over Stoke City and the 1-1 draw against Manchester City.
In a statement announcing his retirement, Rooney said that Southgate had called him earlier this week regarding a return to the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in September.
“I really appreciated that,” Rooney said. “However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football. It is a really tough decision and one I have discussed with my family, my manager at Everton and those closest to me.”
Rooney retires with a record 53 goals for his country in 119 appearances. Apart from being England’s all-time highest goal-scorer, he is also the second-highest capped player for the national team after former goalkeeper Peter Shilton (125 caps).
“Playing for England has always been special to me,” Rooney said. “Every time I was selected as a player or captain was a real privilege and I thank everyone who helped me. But I believe now is the time to bow out.”
Saying that he regretted not having won an international tournament with England, Rooney hinted that he was open to a coaching role with the national team in the future. “Hopefully the exciting players Gareth is bringing through can take that ambition further and I hope everyone will get behind the team,” he said. “One day the dream will come true and I look forward to being there as a fan – or in any capacity.”
Rooney added that he now wanted to “focus all my energies” on helping Everton be successful.
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