Rooney declares retirement with immediate effect
LONDON: Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect, ending his reign as England captain after holding talks with manager Gareth Southgate.
31-year-old Rooney, who joined Everton from Manchester United in the summer after 13 years at Old Trafford, was dropped from Southgate's latest squad for the summer fixtures against Scotland and France in June.
His good start to life back at Goodison Park, where he made his professional debut as a fresh-faced 16-year-old in 2002, triggered suggestions that he would be in line for a recall to the England squad with Southgate naming his team for next month's 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia.
The forward scored in both the 1-0 victory over Stoke City and the 1-1 draw with Manchester City, but has decided the time is right to end his international career 14 years after making his international England debut.
Rooney retires as England's greatest ever goalscorer, netting 53 times in 119 appearances, which also makes him the second-highest capped player for the country behind former goalkeeper Peter Shilton's record of 125 caps.
Rooney issued a statement to Press Association to confirm his retirement, with the Everton striker saying: "It was great that 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 went on to add: "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," he said. "Leaving Manchester United was a very tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton. Now, all I want to do is focus all my energies on helping them be successful," he added.