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Everton striker Rooney turns down England call - announces retirement

Everton striker Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect.

No outfield player has won more Three Lions caps than the 31-year-old, who netted a record 53 goals across 119 appearances for his country.

England manager Gareth Southgate phoned Rooney on Tuesday to say he wanted to include the forward in his upcoming squad following his fine start to life back at boyhood club Everton.

The former Manchester United captain, however, will play no further part for his country after informing Southgate of his decision to quit international football for good in the same phone conversation.

In a statement released to Press Association Sport, Rooney said: "It was great that 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.

"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.

"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."

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Paul Vegas

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