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FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2017 file photo, Manchester United's Wayne Rooney acknowledges the fans after the English Premier League soccer match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke on Trent, England. Manchester United will play Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm on Wednesday May 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)

British soccer star Wayne Rooney announced his retirement from international competition


British soccer star Wayne Rooney on Wednesday announced he is retiring from international competition, effective immediately.

“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,” he said in a statement referencing the manager of the England national team, according to The Telegraph.

“However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I have now decided to retire for good from international football,” Rooney added.

“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, who holds the record number of goals for England’s national team at 53, admitted he would miss playing for the squad.

“I will always remain a passionate England fan,” he said. “One of my very few regrets is not to have been part of a successful England tournament side.”

Rooney, who plays as a forward and midfielder, added he now wants to focus on playing with the Premier League club Everton.

“Leaving Manchester United was a tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton,” he said. “Now I want to focus all my energies on helping them be successful.”

Rooney announced last month that he would rejoin Everton after 13 years playing with Manchester United.

The 31-year-old athlete played 559 games for United, scoring 253 goals en route to five Premier League titles.

Rooney signed a two-year deal with Everton, describing himself as “ecstatic” to return to the club and a “no-brainer” for his next step in the sport.

The soccer star finished as United’s top scorer in five seasons, while also sharing that honor with forward Cristiano Ronaldo during another year.

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