By Tony Mogan
England’s all-time top scorer bows out of the international game after winning 119 caps for the Three Lions having scored 53 goals. The 31-year-old’s decision comes despite receiving a call up from Gareth Southgate for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia.
“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,” he said. “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. 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 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.”
Rooney exploded onto the international scene as an 18-year-old at Euro 2004, scoring four goals during his maiden international tournament before England crashed out after a quarter-final defeat to Portugal on penalties.
He would have to wait eight years for his next goal at a major international competition after frustrating World Cup campaigns in 2006 and 2010 – the former remembered for a red card shown during another knock-out stage defeat to Portugal after a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho.
His goal against Ukraine in the final group match of Euro 2012 ended that hoodoo, however, with his last goal for his country coming in the 2-1 defeat to Iceland that ended England’s Euro 2016 campaign.
England’s perennial woes in major international competition meant Rooney struggled to reach the stunning standard he set for himself in Portugal in 2004. Despite that, he persistently played a decisive role in ensuring England reached those competitions in the first place, scoring 14 times in European qualifying and 16 in World Cup qualifying.
In 2014, he was named captain by then-manager Roy Hodgson in the aftermath of England’s elimination from the 2014 World Cup. He finishes his career as an England international six appearances short of Peter Shilton’s all-time record of 125 caps for his country
Culled from IBT News