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Wayne Rooney retires from international football

The 31-year-old Everton striker represented his country for 14 years, making his debut against Australia at the age of 17.

FILE: Everton's English striker Wayne Rooney on 21 August 2017. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - England captain Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect.

The 31-year-old Everton striker represented his country for 14 years, making his debut against Australia at the age of 17.

He made 119 appearances in his international career and retires as England all-time top goal scorer with 53 goals, that’s four more than Sir Bobby Charlton.

Another Charlton record Rooney broke was his Manchester United goal scoring tally - he became United’s all time top goal scorer with 253 goals, which is also four more goals than Charlton’s number at the Red devils.

The Liverpool-born attacker released a statement on Wednesday, confirming that he is officially hanging up his boots, despite attempts by England manager Gareth Southgate to include him in the team for the upcoming matches against 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. 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.

"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”

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