England’s all-time leading goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, has announced his international retirement after 14 years.
Wayne Rooney Retires From International Football
Rooney made his senior bow for England back in 2003 against Australia, becoming the youngest player to put on the shirt. 119 appearances and 53 goals later and the 31-year-old has hung up his international boots to focus on his club duties with Everton.
His announcement comes after manager Gareth Southgate was set to include him in the squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia respectively.
Rooney’s Full Statement
“It was great Gareth Southgate called me this week to tell me he wanted me back in the England squad for the upcoming matches. I really appreciated that,” Rooney said in his statement.
“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.
“Playing for England has always been special to me. 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.
“Leaving Manchester United was a tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton. Now I want to focus all my energies on helping them be successful.
“I will always remain a passionate England fan. One of my very few regrets is not to have been part of a successful England tournament side. Hopefully the exciting players Gareth is bringing through can take that ambition further and I hope everyone will get behind the team.
“One day the dream will come true and I look forward to being there as a fan – or in any capacity.” (BBC)
Rooney, who recently signed for Everton, has got off to a flyer this season, scoring two in as many games after rejoining from Manchester United. His recent form sparked talk of whether he will return to the national side but he has opted to put his full focus on his new side.
Alongside being England’s all-time record goalscorer, no outfield player has won more caps for the Three Lions than Rooney. However, his international form has hit a bit of a stand-still of late and his departure will make way for younger talent such as Dele Alli to fill his boots.
Rooney’s focus now turns to Thursday night where his Everton side travel to Hajduk Split as they aim to progress to the group stage of the Europa League.
As for England, they travel to Malta on 1st September before three days later sees them host Slovakia in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers as they prepare for life without Rooney.
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