On this day 2017: Wayne Rooney announces retirement from international football

No outfield player has won more caps for England men than Rooney, who netted a then-record 53 goals across 120 appearances for his country.

Pa Sport Staff
Wednesday 23 August 2023 06:00 BST
Wayne Rooney called time on his record-breaking England career (Nick Potts/PA)
Wayne Rooney called time on his record-breaking England career (Nick Potts/PA)

Wayne Rooney, England’s top scorer before he was eclipsed by Harry Kane in March this year, announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect, on this day in 2017.

No outfield player has won more England men’s caps than the 37-year-old, who netted a then-record 53 goals across 120 appearances for his country.

Rooney had been offered a reprieve by England boss Gareth Southgate after a fine return to his boyhood club Everton, but decided the time was right to call it a day.

In a statement released to the PA news agency, 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.”

Rooney made his England debut as a 17-year-old against Australia in February 2003 and scored his first goal against Macedonia in September that same year.

Just as he would later do with Manchester United, he usurped Sir Bobby Charlton as England’s all-time top scorer with his penalty against Switzerland in September 2015.

Rooney replaced David Beckham as the country’s most capped outfield player the following September in Slovakia – ahead of which he announced his intention to retire after the 2018 World Cup.

And despite being within touching distance of Peter Shilton’s record 125-cap haul for England men, Rooney stayed true to his decision to walk away with what was already a remarkable record.

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