Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football after an illustrious 14-year England spell which saw him become their all-time record goalscorer.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Manchester United legend, who made a sensational return to his boyhood club Everton this summer, has confirmed that he no longer wants to be called upon for international duty.
The 31-year old has earned more Three Lion caps than any other outfield player – with a record 53 goals to his name in 119 appearances for his country.
In his statement Rooney says that Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate wanted to recall him to the squad for the upcoming games against Malta and Slovakia.
But the former Man Utd skipper respectively turned down the opportunity to don the England shirt again – instead insisting that he wants to focus on his Everton career.
‘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 his 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. ‘
‘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.’
The former Man Utd star had earned his England debut against Australia in 2003.
Rooney’s England career was a mixture of highs and lows after he burst on to the international circuit as a youngster at Euro 2004.
The 31-year-old did not find the net at a World Cup until his third campaign – finally scoring against Uruguay in Brazil in 2014.
He is one of the very few players, who replicated their domestic and European success at international level.
Rooney was also a player who inspired England on numerous occasions and his place in the history books bears testimony to his immense contribution over so many years.