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Koeman respects Rooney's England retirement

Wayne Rooney's Everton form and fitness will benefit as a result of his decision to retire from international football, Ronald Koeman says.

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Ronald Koeman and Wayne Rooney

Ronald Koeman is grateful that Wayne Rooney's decision to retire from international football was made for the good of Everton, but the manager claims he would have been happy for the veteran to continue his England career.

Rooney announced his retirement from the England team on Wednesday after earning 119 caps and scoring 53 goals since making his debut in 2003.

Koeman said the 31-year-old, who scored two goals in Everton's first two games of the Premier League season, opted to step down from England duty in order to focus on his role at Goodison Park, having returned to Merseyside from Manchester United in July.

"Wayne spoke to me about this - he had a talk with the national coach," Koeman told the club's official website ahead of Everton's Europa League play-off second leg against Hajduk Split.

"He's made his decision because he thinks it's the best for Everton. It is always the player's decision and, of course, I respect that."

Rooney is part of the Everton squad for Thursday's game in Croatia, and Koeman reflected on the potential strain that a European campaign will put on his players this season.

"If you reach the group stage of the Europa League and have international duty, then that is a really tough programme," said Koeman.

"His [Rooney's] fitness is really good at the moment. It is up to the player to decide the best thing to do.

"I respect that and I would have respected it if he had made a different decision about his future as an international player.

"I think it is a good decision for him and a good decision for Everton. It means when the internationals come, he will have some time at home with his family."

Koeman added that Everton will be without the injured Sandro Ramirez (heel) and Davy Klaassen (foot) for the trip to Stadion Poljud, where they will have a 2-0 lead from the first leg.

"Sandro and Davy haven't travelled. Davy has a knock - he will be out for a week. Sandro is a doubt for Sunday [when Everton face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge]."

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