'Stick to playing FIFA' - TV pundit hits out on Twitter after Everton star gets backlash
By Abigail Withey
Former striker and football pundit Gary Lineker has publicly slammed critics of Wayne Rooney on Twitter after the Everton striker announced his retirement from international football.
Rooney announced on Wednesday that he had made the decision to no longer play for England in a statement on his official website.
In his statement the 31-year-old said that Gareth Southgate had asked him to play for his country in upcoming matches, but the striker decided it was time to focus on his time in the Premier League with Everton.
“Having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football,” he wrote in the statement.
“It is a really tough decision and one I have discussed with my family, my manager at Everton and those closest to me.
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“Leaving Manchester United was a tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton,” he explained. “Now I want to focus all my energies on helping them be successful.”
Rooney’s decision to retire attracted a lot of abuse and unwarranted comments, which led to Gary Lineker’s outburst on social media.
The Match of the Day presenter hit out at those who were criticising his career and his talent on his personal Twitter account soon after the announcement was made.
“So many buffoons denouncing Wayne Rooney’s international career. You have no idea how good he is or how hard it is,” he wrote. “Stick to playing FIFA.”
So many buffoons denouncing @WayneRooney's international career. You have no idea how good he is or how hard it is. Stick to playing FIFA.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) August 23, 2017
The former Manchester United star made his England debut back in February 2003 during an international friendly against Australia at the Boleyn Ground.
Since then he has made 119 international appearances for his country and scored an impressive 53 goals.
His announcement to retire comes just days after he made another career milestone when he scored his 200th Premier League goal during Everton’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Monday.
Only one other player, Alan Shearer, has scored 200 Premier League goals.