England’s all-time top scorer Wayne Rooney has announced his decision to retire from international football.
The striker had been called by England manager Gareth Southgate this week with a view to rekindling a dwindling international career.
However, Rooney released a statement on his official website detailing his decision to retire, explaining his desire to focus his energies on helping club side Everton be successful.
“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,” the statement reads.
“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.”
Liverpool-born Rooney also became the youngest ever England player when he made his debut against Australia on February 12, 2003, aged 17 years and 111 days.
He went on to score 53 goals in 119 appearances for England, making him the country’s all-time leading goalscorer ahead of the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton.
In 2014, Rooney was handed the captaincy of the national team, and led his country at the 2016 European Championships, where they crashed out to Iceland.
This summer, the 31-year-old left Manchester United, the club at which he also became all-time top scorer, to return to his boyhood club Everton.
Rooney has since scored two goals in his first two Premier League games since rejoining The Toffees.