England’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney has retired from international football after turning down the chance to be part of the squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.
The Everton striker was asked by England boss Gareth Southgate to be involved against Malta and Slovakia.
“Every time I was selected was a real privilege but I believe now is the time to bow out,” said the 31-year-old.
The former Manchester United captain scored 53 times in 119 internationals.
He made his major tournament debut as an 18-year-old at Euro 2004, and his last international appearance was as captain in last November’s 3-0 victory over Scotland at Wembley.
After that game, he said he was “focusing on Everton” rather than an international recall.
“I’m sure I’ll speak to Gareth Southgate over the next few days,” he added. “We’ll see what happens.”
Southgate is due to name a squad on Thursday for the World Cup qualifiers in Malta on 1 September, and at home to Slovakia three days later.
Rooney’s statement in full
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.
Source: BBC Sport