Football, Premier League 2017-08-24 8:58 AM

Wayne Rooney has turned down an England recall and decided to focus solely on his club career with Everton – confirming his retirement from international football on Wednesday.

Ahead of Gareth Southgate’s squad selection for the World Cup qualifiers with Malta and Slovakia Rooney said his priority was Everton and not England.

Well, we know this is literally the case as he’s ended his international career.

England’s all time leading Goal Scorer was contacted by Southgate this week with the view to recalling him into his squad for the double header next month but Rooney, 31, turned down the chance to return to the national squad and informed the boss he wasn’t available for selection any longer.

A statement issued by Rooney on the Official Website read: ‘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.’

Adding: ‘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.’

Rooney, of course England captain until Southgate took over, stripping him of the captaincy and dropping the forward last season, scored 53 goals in 119 appearances, making the first of these as a Blues player at the age of 16.

He went on to say he’ll remain an England fan and wishes Southgate well.

‘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.’

Fair play to Rooney as I think, despite holding my hands up to admit I didn’t think he was always warranting a place in the England starting XI for the past couple of years, he’s been unfairly treated at times over the years, especially the most recent ones, so goes out on his terms.

In some ways it is a shame he’ll not represent England again as an Everton player but the nations loss will be the Blues’ gain as this will prolong his club career at Goodison Park.

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