England’s record goal scorer Wayne Rooney announced today he is retiring from international football with immediate effect after manager Gareth Southgate tried to recall him to the squad.
The 31-year-old — scorer of 53 goals in 119 appearances for his country — told Southgate of his decision during a phone conversation on Tuesday.
Southgate had phoned Rooney — who had lost both the captaincy and eventually his place in the squad as he became a peripheral figure under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United last season — to congratulate him on his early season form for new club Everton.
“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,” said Rooney in a statement sent to Press Association Sport.
“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 (Ronald Koeman) and those closest to me.”
Southgate is due to name a squad tomorrow for the World Cup qualifiers in Malta on September 1, and at home to Slovakia three days later.