Wayne Rooney announces retirement from international football

Everton forward Wayne Rooney has announced that he is calling time on his international career at the age of 31.

The Three Lions record scorer left Manchester United this summer and rejoined his boyhood club and has made a good first impression, scoring two goals in two games.

Ronald Koeman will be hoping this retirement translates into even better form at club level for Rooney and lead the Merseyside club to success this season.

Rooney believes it's time to bow out

Rooney's England career began way back in February 2003. For the past 14 years, Rooney has given it his all for his country whenever called upon. Bursting onto the international scene at Euro 2004, Rooney has since then featured at Euro 2012 and Euro 2016.

While his national career hasn't seen many goals at major competitions, Rooney has always been a big part in the qualification stages and led his team throughout the tougher parts of qualification with passion and a great leadership spirit.

Speaking to the BBC, Rooney expressed his thoughts on the decision and appreciated current England boss Gareth Southgate for his support.

Rooney said,"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, little did Southgate know that his captain had decided to hang up his boots, once and for all. After thinking "long and hard", Wazza thought it was time to "retire for good" from England duty.

Hard decision for former England captain

As hard as it is for any player, for Rooney as well, announcing his retirement from England was no easy decision to take. He will finish his national team career as the outfield player with the most appearances behind the former captain, David Beckham.

Rooney spoke to his loved ones and well-wishers before announcing the move. He said,"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 might not have always been as rewarding in terms of silverware when you compare his time with United, however, Rooney never complained and always considered it a privilege to be called up to the squad.

He reflected on his time playing for the Three Lions and said, "Every time I was selected as a player or captain was a real privilege and I thank everyone who helped me", before saying that "now is the time to bow out."

Embed from Getty Images

Rooney wants to focus on Everton

The summer of 2017 has been an extremely difficult and emotional one for Rooney. Leaving United and returning to Everton was a decision he had been thinking of, for a while now. But to actually take the hard decision and leave, was very brave of the former Red Devils captain.

Now that he's left England and United, Rooney wants to use his experience and his quality to assist Koeman's side in the best way possible. He said, "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."

One of Rooney's biggest regrets could be that he was never part of a successful England side. Despite being part of the 'golden era' and now retiring as the last player of that era, Rooney wasn't able to lead his country to success at World Cups nor the European Championships.

However, the 31-year-old hopes that under Southgate, a new and fresh England team will flourish. He said, "Hopefully the exciting players Gareth is bringing through can take that ambition further and I hope everyone will get behind the team."

Rooney hopes that one day, the dream will come true for him as a fan or "in any other capacity", which poses the question of whether we'll see him in a potential role in the England setup in the future.

Be that as it may, for now, Rooney will be hoping to help Everton continue their progress in the UEFA Europa League, against Hajduk Split, whom they beat 2-0 in the first leg of the qualifying round tie.