Retiring from international football is an increasingly popular activity amongst self important players, whereby they cease to make themselves available for international duty, without actually retiring from football completely. Players will justify the decision by saying that they want to focus on their club career or that they want to make way for younger players. There are, however, only two actual reasons why players retire from international football:
- They never get picked for the first XI proper and can't be bothered having to fly around the world to sit on the bench for 90 minutes - or worse in a suit behind the dugout.
- They're decent but were born in a country that's shit at football. If they can't get their nationality changed to a better one; the player will either have to retire or play pointless damage-limitation style qualification games alongside a team of semi-pros.
Players Who Retired From International Football
Jamie Carragher - despite getting 27 caps at under 21 level, Mr No Nonsense was never able to cement a claim on the centre back position for England. Successive managers chose to use Carra as cover for just about any position in the team, apart from centre back. After being asked to cover for an injured Gary Lewin as physio in a friendly with Germany, Carragher decided to call it a day and retire from international football at 29.
Ryan Giggs - Giggs is probably the finest left winger in Premier League history. Unfortunately, in addition to having a rug for a chest, Giggs was born in Wales. Despite captaining the England schoolboys team at Wembley, Giggs ultimately chose to play for Wales and as a result has never played in the finals of a major tournament. Giggs famously didn't play in a Welsh friendly for 9 years and in 2007 he decided that he'd had enough of such silliness and retired from international football.
Jason Koumas - Jason is not nearly as good as Giggs, yet even he decided that playing for Wales was a complete waste of time and retired aged 29. So apathetic was Koumas to the Welsh cause, that he rarely turned up for training and even went so far as to edit his Championship Manager, changing his nationality to Cypriot.
Paul Scholes - The Ginger Ninja, despite being only 4ft 2in tall, was the first person in England to see the impending iceberg commonly known as The Gerrard/Lampard Combination taking over all England midfield duties for the next 17 years or so. He therefore decided to end his international career with dignity by retiring. Sadly, this left no viable competition (Kieron Dyer notwithstanding) for Lampard's place in England sides throughout the 21st century.
Dwight Yorke - Yorke is the undisputed king of retiring from international football. Yorke first retired from Trinidad & Tobago in 2001 after a dispute with the coach. He then returned during the 2006 World Cup Qualifying campaign once it looked like they might actually qualify, which they did. Yorke then retired from international football again in 2007 claiming he wanted to focus on his club career at Sunderland. Yorke, however, could be bothered to return to play in a one off friendly against England in June 2008. He then decided in July that he would return to international football for the 2010 World Cup campaign, but when he was released from Sunderland and couldn't find another club, Yorke retired from football altogether.
Players Who Didn't Retire From International Football
George Weah - Weah was one of the best players of the 90s and was voted the best African player of all time. Sadly he was born in Liberia, which isn't even Libya and so prospects for international glory were limited. Despite playing for, coaching and even offering to be president of Liberia, they rarely looked even remotely like qualifying for anything.
David Beckham - still plays for England and via a series of 10 minute cameos in friendlies, is literally pissing on the achievements of men like Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore who played nearly all their 100 caps at the top of their game. Then again, they also didn't throw away their club careers by going to play in the MLS.