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Michael Owen reacts to Wayne Rooney retiring from international football

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So after 119 appearances and 53 goals, Wayne Rooney has decided to retire from international football.

Rooney hasn't played for England since November last year and despite receiving a call from manager Gareth Southgate this week regarding his availability, will now focus on his club career at Everton.

The 31-year-old became England's youngest senior international when he made his debut against Australia in February 2003.

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He followed that up by becoming the youngest goalscorer for his country in September that same year, aged just 17 years and 317 days old.

And despite enjoying an impressive revival back at boyhood club Everton, Rooney has put himself out of the running to play in the 2018 World Cup next year.

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The former England captain released a statement to confirm the decision on Wednesday afternoon.

"It was great 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," Rooney wrote.

"However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football.

England v Iceland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016

"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."

The man Rooney actually replaced in his first England game all those years ago, Michael Owen, was among the first to react to the surprise announcement and posted a classy tweet to his former club and international teammate.

"Brilliant timing. Always great to go out on top. Well done @WayneRooney an International career to be proud of."

Gary Lineker, currently third in England's list of all-time scorers, also tweeted:

"England's highest ever goalscorer calls it a day. Congratulations to @WayneRooney on a magnificent international career. A player's player."

It's likely the tributes to Rooney's record-breaking career from old teammates and former pros will continue to pour in over the next 24 hours.

And rightly so...

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Michael Owen
Football
Gary Lineker

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