LONDON, Aug 23: England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney announced today he is retiring from international football with immediate effect after manager Gareth Southgate tried to recall him to the squad.
The 31-year-old – scorer of 53 goals in 119 appearances for his country – told Southgate of his decision during a phone conversation yesterday.
Southgate had phoned Rooney – who had lost both the captaincy and eventually his place in the squad as he became a peripheral figure under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United last season – to congratulate him on his early season form for new club Everton.
Rooney has looked rejuvenated and happy – scoring in both their Premier League matches so far – since he re-signed for the club that nurtured his talent as a teenager before he left for United.
“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,” said Rooney in a statement sent to Press Association Sport.
“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 (Ronald Koeman) 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, England’s most capped outfield player ever, said his sole purpose now in football is to ensure Everton win trophies.
He had alluded to what his priority was in his post-match interview on Sky Sports on Monday after he joined Alan Shearer in scoring 200 Premier League goals – made sweeter as it came against Manchester United’s city rivals Manchester City.
“Leaving Manchester United was a tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton,” said Rooney.
“Now I want to focus all my energies on helping them be successful.” – AFP