Jamie Vardy announces retirement from international football
Former Halifax Town striker Jamie Vardy has announced his retirement from international football in order to focus on his club career.
Vardy, who scored 26 goals in 37 games for the Shaymen between 2010 and 2011, made his England debut in 2015.
He went on to earn 26 international caps, scoring seven goals and was part of Gareth Southgate's squad that reached the semi finals of the World Cup in Russia earlier this year.
The 31-year-old says that his decision was influenced by a number of factors, citing a desire to spend more time with his family and focus on his club career.
“To be honest with you, this has been on my mind for a while,” Vardy told the Guardian.
“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.”
Vardy featured in four of England's seven matches at the World Cup, starting just once.
And he has admitted that he would prefer to focus on spending more time with his family during the international breaks - if he is not going to be a regular feature in Southgate's side.
He continued: "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.”
The former Halifax favourite has not shut the door on his international career completely, insisting he will play for England if he is desperately needed.
"If the worst came to happen and everyone was injured, then obviously I wouldn’t say no," added Vardy.
Vardy is one of a few former and current Shaymen to have earnt international honours in recent years.
Defender Cliff Moyo was called-up to the Zimbabwe national team for the first time in March 2018 and went on to make his debut against Zambia in the same month.
While former striker Shane Smeltz, who played for Town during the 2006/07 campaign, made 58 appearances for New Zealand over a 14-year period between 2003 and 2017.