New Delhi: Former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney on Wednesday announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect. Rooney ended his reign as England’s all-time leading goalscorer with 53 goals and second-highest international appearances at 119.Also Read - Manchester United Co-owner's Company Buys UAE T20 League Franchise

The former Three Lions skipper exited Manchester United to return to his boyhood Premier League club Everton this summer and has decided to concentrate on his club career with the Toffees. Also Read - Manchester United Make Their Point Against Chelsea; Manchester City, Liverpool Close In At the Top

The 31-year-old was asked by national coach Gareth Southgate to be involved in the games against Malta and Slovakia. However, Rooney decided to end his international career 14 years after making his England debut. Also Read - Chelsea vs Manchester United Live Streaming English Premier League in India: When and Where to Watch CHE vs MUN Live Stream Football Match Online on Disney+ Hotstar; TV Telecast on Star Sports

In a statement, Rooney was quoted saying to BBC: “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. Oday the dream will come true and I look forward to being there as a fan – or in any capacity.”

Rooney’s last game for England was the win over Scotland in November, with his final goal coming against Iceland last summer.