English striker Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football – despite Gareth Southgate wanting him back in the England squad after hitting the ground running for his hometown side Everton FC.
Rooney who joined Alan Shearer in the Premier League 200 goal club on Monday bows out as England’s all-time leading goalscorer with 53 goals, and the second-highest appearance maker with 119 appearances, six shy of Peter Shilton.
After scoring his second goal in as many Premier League games against Manchester City, he confirmed he would speak to boss Gareth Southgate.
But now he has decided to hang up his boots, to the dismay of Southgate who planned to select him for upcoming matches.
“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 said in a 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.
Rooney burst onto the international scene as a teenager, making his debut against Australia in February 2003, aged 17.
Wayne Rooney made his England Debut against Australia in February, 2003
He took Euro 2004 by storm before securing his move to Manchester United but often struggled in major tournaments and has scored just three goals at the World Cup and European Championship.
Rooney had previously stated his intention to retire after next summer’s World Cup but with little hope of returning to the squad, he has decided to walk away for good.