Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect, rejecting a call-up for next month’s matches against Malta and Slovakia.
England’s record goalscorer said in a statement: “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. However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football.”
No outfield player has won more England caps than the 31-year-old Rooney, who scored 53 goals in 119 appearances for his country.
Southgate phoned Rooney on Tuesday to say he wanted to include the forward in his upcoming squad following a fine start to life back at his boyhood club Everton. The former Manchester United captain informed England’s manager of his decision to quit international football in the same conversation.