James Milner retires from international football
The FA broke the news on their official Twitter account, with Milner then releasing a statement saying that he’d been grateful for the chance to speak to England manager Sam Allardyce – one of his former managers – before making the decision.
“I would like to thank Sam for taking the time to come and see me in person and have the conversation face-to-face, regarding my international future and role within the England set-up,” said Milner. “I think the decision we have reached is all about common sense. I wish Sam, the players, staff and supporters success in the future.”
In a statement, new England boss Allardyce said that he had a “lengthy conversation” with Milner earlier in the week, which prompted the decision.
“James has had the chance to reflect on his international career in recent months and consider his next steps, particularly with a young family at home and having allowed himself little free time away from the professional game in the past 15 years,” said Allardyce. “After we had a lengthy conversation with him earlier this week, he has decided to take a step back from international duty; a decision I fully respect.”
“James can be proud of his seven-year career as a senior England player and has never let his country down when called upon. His club career, already glittering, has many years ahead and we wish him well with Liverpool this season and beyond.In what is the mark of a true professional, James is a proud Englishman and has acknowledged that he would be prepared to step up again if I ever needed him to play a specific role of importance within my team.”
Millner had already hinted that he would walk away in an interview which appeared in the media earlier this week. “Over the last couple of years with the England team I have not really played too much,” Milner told several national newspapers.
“With the good young players we have coming through, it is pointless me taking up a spot just because I am reliable. I am fortunate to have been involved in international football since I was 17 or 18 without stopping. I was with the under-21s and went through so I have played more than 100 games. I’ve been to four tournaments but if a younger guy had come in and maybe done the same job at Euro 2016, he would have taken a lot more from it than I (did).”
Milner had also added that he would be glad to be able to discuss the matter with Allardyce, who coached him at Newcastle in 2007-08. “I am happy it is Sam as I know I can have a good conversation with him and it will be honest. That is all I ever wanted,” he said.
Milner made his senior England bow while still with Aston Villa in 2009, scoring his only international goal in a World Cup qualifier in Moldova three years later.