Wayne Rooney has called time on his international career with England after turning down a call-up for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia. The 31-year-old has looked in good shape ever since his return to boyhood club Everton from Manchester United this summer.
The veteran striker had a tough spell with the Red Devils during the previous campaign, and this saw him ignored by Gareth Southgate for the internationals against France and Scotland in June. Since then, he has managed to revive some of his old form at Everton for whom he has scored both their league goals.
Rooney was asked by Southgate over a potential comeback next month, but he has surprisingly called time on his international career. With the World Cup coming along next year, the country’s all-time goalscorer is prepared to let the new generation take shape with the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli proving to be match winners for the Three Lions.
“Every time I was selected was a real privilege but I believe now is the time to bow out,” he is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
England also enjoyed World Cup success with the Under-20 side this summer, whilst their other junior squads fared well in their respective European Championships. Rooney ends his career with a tally of 53 goals in 119 caps for the Three Lions – with his last appearance coming in the 3-0 triumph over Scotland at Wembley in November.
There has been a lot of talk over whether Rooney should be involved with England ahead of next year’s World Cup, but the player has himself put a stop to the speculation by retiring from internationals altogether. The Evertonian is probably among the finest players to have played for the national team, but he will hold the disappointment of having failed to lift any trophies during his 13-year career.
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