Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect, ending his reign as England captain after turning down the chance to be part of the squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.
The 31-year-old, who joined Everton from Manchester United in the summer after 13 years at Old Trafford, was dropped from Southgate’s latest squad for the summer fixtures against Scotland and France in June.
Rooney retires as England’s greatest ever goalscorer, netting 53 times in 119 appearances, which also makes him the second-highest capped player for the country behind former goalkeeper Peter Shilton’s record of 125 caps.
He issued a statement to Press Association to confirm his retirement, saying: “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.”