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Wayne Rooney announces international retirement

The Everton forward says he is now fully focused on the Toffees

Wayne Rooney Set to Make 100th Appearance for England Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Everton’s Wayne Rooney has confirmed his retirement from international football.

Manager Gareth Southgate has left the Blues forward out of recent squads, with his last game coming in the World Cup qualifier against Scotland in November 2016.

A return to Goodison Park this summer has seen him revived, though, scoring goals in his first two Premier League games, the latest coming in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Monday.

That fine form has sparked debate about whether he should make a return to the England set up for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia.

Rooney himself had indicated he would talk to Southgate about the situation when questioned about it following the draw at the Etihad. Those talks took place, but Rooney has instead decided now is the time to bow out.

"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.

"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.”

England will now be left to consider who will be his replacement while Rooney can reflect on a more than satisfactory international career.

The 31-year-old retires as the Three Lions’ highest ever goalscorer, having managed 53 goals in 119 appearances since making his debut against Australia in 2003.

He also remains their youngest ever appearance maker, aged 17 years 111 days and their youngest ever goalscorer, aged 17 years 317 days.