London — Former England captain Wayne Rooney announced his retirement from international football on Wednesday, ending a 14-year career in which he became the UK’s top goal scorer with 53 goals.
Rooney earned his first cap against Australia in 2003 at the age of 17 years and 111 days to become the youngest player, at the time, to represent the national side. He also leaves as England’s most-capped outfield player with 119 appearances.
"Having already thought long and hard, I told [England manager] Gareth [Southgate] that I had now decided to retire for good from international football," Rooney said in a statement on his website (www.officialwaynerooney.com).
"It is a really tough decision and one I have discussed with my family, my manager at Everton and those closest to me."
The English Football Association said Rooney told Southgate of his decision on Tuesday, after the manager informed him he could be called-up for England’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia next month. The 31-year-old has not played for his country since England beat Scotland 3-0 at Wembley last November.
Rooney said he would focus on extending his club career after his move back to his boyhood club, Everton, from Manchester United in July. The striker became only the second player to score 200 Premier League goals on Monday in Everton’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City.
"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."