MANCHESTER, England, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy says he no longer wants to be considered for England duty and wishes to focus his time on his club career.
The 32-year-old, who featured at the World Cup in Russia, said he had spoken to England manager Gareth Southgate about his decision but remained available to help should the team face injury problems.
“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,” he said.
Vardy was restricted to the bench for most of the World Cup in Russia and said his lack of playing time had influenced his decision.
“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 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.
“I thought I could have helped a bit more if I had more minutes. You know that you can hurt opponents in certain ways, in the way you play. But it wasn’t to be. And you have to respect the manager’s decisions.”
Vardy said he had expressed his intention to Southgate shortly after the World Cup and confirmed it in a recent phone calls.
“We’ve not shut the door completely. If the worst came to happen and everyone was injured, then obviously I wouldn’t say no,” he said. (Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond)