— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) August 23, 2017
Wayne Rooney announced his international retirement on Wednesday, ending his England career as his country’s record goalscorer with 53 goals from 119 caps. The Everton forward made his debut against Australia in 2003, at the age of 17 and went on to win 119 caps, the most of any outfield player in the nation’s history.
Making the announcement on his official website, the 31 year-old maintained that “Dreams can come true and playing for England has been exactly that. Thanks to everyone involved it’s been amazing”
His website statement.
“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.”
Meanwhile colleagues, pundits, fans and ex-players lined up to pay glowing tributes to the England great as the news circulated round. See some of the reactions below.
“You always miss a captain & a legend like Rooney. He’s got experience, he won trophies, he’s a top player who can help the team.” Paul Pogba
“He has always shown a great deal of dignity and class.” – Former England captain Terry Butcher.
“Today marks the end of an era in international football. Wayne Rooney is an icon of his generation and an undoubted legend of the game. As his country’s all-time leading goalscorer and most-capped outfield player, it goes without saying that Wayne has deservedly earned the right to forever be called a Three Lions great – FA chairman Greg Clarke
It is a fantastic career, sometimes he has been criticised but fact is fact — the games he has played and goals he has scored. If I was the manager I would try to convince him to delay it (the international retirement) until after the next World Cup.” — former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson told Sky Sports.
Well done on a record-breaking @England career, @WayneRooney!” — Former club Manchester United tweeted.
“I think only now he is ducking out will he get the credit he truly deserves as an England player and the record goalscorer.” — Former Arsenal and England striker Alan Smith.
“Congratulations on an incredible @England career!“ — Everton tweeted.
“You do know as an international player when you have reached the point of no return. Sometimes you want to jump before you are pushed. I would have loved him to have gone to Russia and led England at a fourth World Cup but he has had 13 great years and he will know in his heart and head that it makes sense to concentrate on Everton.” — former England captain Terry Butcher.
“As his country’s all-time leading goalscorer and most-capped outfield player, it goes without saying that Wayne has deservedly earned the right to forever be called a Three Lions great – FA chairman Greg Clarke
Brilliant timing. Always great to go out on top. Well done @WayneRooney an International career to be proud of.
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) August 23, 2017
England's highest ever goalscorer calls it a day. Congratulations to @WayneRooney on a magnificent international career. A player's player.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) August 23, 2017
Wayne & @Everton will benefit immensely.
— Michael Ball (@bally03) August 23, 2017
Wayne Rooney has been a national treasure and now he's hung up the international boots EFC will benefit immensely!!! ?? Class ?
— Kevin Campbell (@1kevincampbell) August 23, 2017
Congrats to Rooney on a Stella international career
2004 he would have won us the Euros if not for injury!
Top player?? pic.twitter.com/94PyGXfpJa
— Dean Ashton (@Dean36ashton10) August 23, 2017
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 23, 2017
— Chris Smalling (@ChrisSmalling) August 23, 2017
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 23, 2017
What a career Wayne Rooney a fantastic servant for England. Only one dive that annoyed me against Man Utd 49th game ?
— Sol Campbell (@SolManOfficial) August 23, 2017