Jamie Vardy announces retirement from international football
What's the news?
Leicester City striker, Jamie Vardy, has officially announced his retirement from international football in an interview with The Guardian. According to the same source, Vardy originally intimated his retirement, via a phone call, to England Manager Gareth Southgate some time ago.
In case you didn't know..
Jamie Vardy made his international debut in May 2015 and has been a part of every England squad ever since. He scored 7 goals in 26 caps for England. His last appearance came at the FIFA World Cup 2018, where Vardy featured in 4 games (as a sub in 3 of those).
The heart of the matter
The aforementioned call took place a few weeks ago, but the news was only made public, by Vardy, in an interview today. The prolific striker cited his age, lack of playing time for England and his family as reasons for hanging up his boots.
The newly retired striker told The Guardian:
"To be honest with you, this has been on my mind for a while. I’m not getting any younger and you can see, to be fair to the gaffer, he wants to make it more youthful, which obviously had its benefits during the World Cup – we got to the semi-finals and finished fourth, which is equal to the furthest we have ever been on foreign soil. So, I just said to Gareth that I think it’s probably best from now on, especially with the way he wants to go, to bring youngsters in, who he thinks have got the ability, and start nurturing them into international football."
The Leicester talisman also praised Southgate, calling him a "brilliant" manager. Likewise, Southgate himself praised Vardy and expressed a disappointment over his decision, saying that the striker "still had a lot to offer".
When asked whether the prospect of traveling with England but not playing enough had any influence on his decision, Vardy replied:
“Yeah, I think that had an impact. When you get selected, you want to be playing. If you’re playing week in, week out for your club, you want to be going to England to play as well. And if it’s not happening, then for me personally now, at this age, it’s better to be at home, spending that time with my family and training with my club, preparing for the next game after the international break.”
However, Vardy has confirmed that he will be willing to return, to play for the Three Lions, in case of a severe injury crisis.
England's next games are against Spain and Switzerland on 8th and 11th September respectively.
While the match against Switzerland is a friendly, the game against Spain is the first game of the newly christened UEFA Nations League. England are in Group 4 with Spain and World Cup runner-ups, Croatia.