In Depth

Wayne Rooney retires from England duty: How the football world reacted

The Everton striker is England's all-time leading goalscorer

Gary Lineker and Michael Owen led the plaudits for England's all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney after the striker announced his immediate retirement from international football.

While many players, pundits and fans praised the decision, former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said Rooney should be convinced to delay his retirement.

"He can still play in the national team and at the highest level." Eriksson told Sky Sports. "It's a pity he will miss the next World Cup. If I was a manager I would try and convince him to delay it until after the World Cup" 

Rooney was not selected for England's matches against Scotland or Spain in June, but has made an impressive start to the season at Everton after rejoining his boyhood club from Manchester United in the summer.

After scoring twice for the Toffees so far this season, including his 200th Premier League goal, England boss Gareth Southgate had approached the 31-year-old about returning to the squad for the matches against Malta and Slovakia. 

However, England's all-time leading goalscorer, with 53 goals from his 119 appearances, believes "now is the time to bow out".

"It was great Gareth Southgate called me this week to tell me he wanted me back in the England squad for the upcoming matches," Rooney said in a statement. "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 also cited his commitment to Everton as one of the main reasons behind his decision. "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.

"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."

At the age of 17 years and 111 days, Rooney became England's youngest player when he made his debut in a 3-1 defeat against Australia in February 2003. Seven months later, aged 17 years 317 days, Rooney became the youngest ever England scorer when he slotted home the equaliser in a 2-1 win in Moldova.

It was at Euro 2004 where Rooney made international headlines after scoring four goals in four matches and being named in Uefa's Team of the Tournament. Rooney's England career did have its low points, though - mostly at the World Cup. He only scored one goal during a World Cup finals, against Uruguay at Brazil 2014.

Here's how Twitter reacted to Rooney's announcement

Joe looks back at some classic Wayne Rooney tweets

Rooney is still a hero in the red side of Manchester

Matt Alexander called the striker 'a true legend'

Not everyone was gushing in praise for the Evertonian

This fan seemed genuinely upset

Only yesterday Sky ran a poll asking fans if Rooney should be recalled

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