England‘s all-time leading footballer Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football after turning down the chance to be part of the England squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.
The Everton striker, 31, was asked by national coach Gareth Southgate to be involved in the games against Malta and Slovakia in the coming weeks but he decided to quit instead.
Rooney scored 53 goals in 119 games for the three lions.
“Every time I was selected was a real privilege but I believe now is the time to bow out,” Rooney said in a statement released on his official website.
Read His official 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.
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.
53 goals. 119 games. Forever a #ThreeLions legend.
— England (@England) August 23, 2017