Wayne Rooney has retired from international football – despite Gareth Southgate wanting him back in the England squad.
Rooney bows out as England’s all-time leading goalscorer with 53 goals, and the second-highest appearance maker.
The former Three Lions skipper rejoined Everton this summer and has enjoyed a fine start to life back at Goodison.
After scoring his second goal in as many Premier League games against Manchester City, he confirmed he would speak to boss Gareth Southgate.
But he has now decided to hang up his boots, despite Southgate planning 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,” he 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’s last game for England was the win over Scotland in November, with his final goal coming against Iceland last summer.
Injuries prevented him being called up last season before Gareth Southgate overlooked him for matches this summer due to his lack of game time with Manchester United.
There had been calls for his return following his impressive form with Everton.
Rooney burst onto the international scene as a teenager, making his debut against Australia in February 2003, aged 17.
He took Euro 2004 by storm before securing his move to Manchester United but often struggled in major tournaments.
Since the tournament in Portugal, he has scored just three at the World Cup and European Championships.
The 2006 World Cup ended in disgrace for Rooney as he was sent off for a stamp on former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho.
Back in 2010, he was involved in an infamous bust-up with fans as he launched a rant at the TV cameras.
But he won back the support of Three Lions as he set his sights on the goal and appaearance records.
He broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time scoring record in September 2015, doing so from the penalty spot against Switzerland.
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.
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