Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy and Chelsea defender Gary Cahill step aside from England international duty

28 Aug

Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill both effectively called time on their international careers on Tuesday.

The duo, part of the England squad which reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, have informed manager Gareth Southgate they do not wish to be selected going forward.

Jamie Vardy has decided to end his England career after 26 caps and seven goals
Gary Cahill featured just once for England at the 2018 World Cup

Southgate will name his first squad since the finals this Thursday, for the clashes against Spain and Switzerland later this month.

Vardy has decided to all-but retire from the national team after scoring seven goals in 26 appearances, saying he will only play for the Three Lions again if there is an injury crisis.

Cahill, meanwhile, says he is stepping back after representing England on 61 occasions and has not completely closed the door on a return.

It seems highly unlikely, however, that either player will be selected by Southgate again.

Leicester City striker Vardy, 31, 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.”

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Vardy has retired from England duty to focus on his club career

Vardy made four appearances in Russia but only started one match, with Harry Kane the undisputed first-choice striker.

He believes he is likely to remain on the fringes under Southgate, and reckons it will benefit him more to remain with his club than link up with England for international games.

“When you get selected, you want to be playing,” he admitted.

“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.”

Vardy added: “I explained it all to Gareth and he was fine with my decision.

“I mentioned it to him after the World Cup had finished, out in Russia, and then I spoke to him on the phone a couple of weeks ago.

“He let it die down a bit, so that I could have a bit more time to think, and then rang me up just to make sure I wasn’t just taking the mickey in Russia. But I hadn’t changed my mind. G

“Gareth said that he felt I still had a lot to offer, and we’ve not shut the door completely. If the worst came to happen and everyone was injured, then obviously I wouldn’t say no.”

Cahill captained the Three Lions several times, with the 32-year-old part of the squad at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups as well as Euro 2016.

Gary Cahill has been part of the England set-up for eight years

“I have played pretty solid over the seven or eight years I have been involved, something again I have been very proud of – I can see now it is kind of going towards a younger generation,” he added.

“For me to take a step back now is the perfect time, but at the same time in your football career you never want to shut a door completely.

“I have been hugely honoured to play for my country and I would never shut the door, if I was ever needed in the future then obviously I’m there.

“Such is my relationship with the manager, he was fantastic at the end of the tournament, I had a good chat with him and he could see where I was coming from, understood the situation but at the same time I wouldn’t want to totally shut the door.

“He knows my opinion and I know his, I have said that, in the future, if there are injuries or I am needed to come and play then of course I am available.

“But in terms of the next meeting coming up and the friendlies where maybe they are looking at other players, I think it is probably more beneficial for them to be playing than me travelling there.”