Rooney retires from international football

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The Everton striker has decided to call time on his England career, after being picked for Gareth Southgate's upcoming squad

England's record goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, has announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect.

The 31-year-old Everton striker, who returned to his boyhood club from Manchester United earlier this summer, scored 53 goals in 119 appearances for the Three Lions.

Everton 7/1 top four finish

The Football Association has confirmed that Rooney informed Gareth Southgate of his decision after being told he was set to be included in the upcoming squad to face Malta and Slovakia.

"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," he said in an official 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.

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"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.

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"One day the dream will come true and I look forward to being there as a fan — or in any capacity."

Rooney made his debut for England in 2003, against Australia, and went on to play in three World Cup tournaments and three European Championships.

The striker was unable to lift a trophy on the international stage, with his best achievements coming in reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2006.

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