Jamie Vardy has decided to call time on his international career. His England party is over.
The Leicester City striker, 31, won 26 caps for England and was called up to every Three Lions squad since May 2015 when he may his debut for his country.
Vardy scored seven goals for England and although he no longer wants to be called up for the national team after talks with Gareth Southgate, the speedster has said he will return if there’s a major injury crisis.
Citing time away from family when not playing that often and wanting to step aside to let younger players have a chance, Vardy told the Guardian that he spoke with Southgate in Russia about calling it quits and then had a recent follow-up call to confirm his decision.
“To be honest with you, this has been on my mind for a while,” Vardy said. “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 added that Southgate felt he “still had a lot to offer” but Leicester’s leading goalscorer in each of the past three seasons wants to spend more time with his family and focus on his club career. He played at both EURO 2016 (scoring against Wales) and the 2018 World Cup for England but has fallen behind Harry Kane in the pecking order. That said, Vardy was used often off the bench by Southgate and aside from Marcus Rashford there aren’t many options for the England manager to choose from.
Gary Cahill also effectively called time on his England career on Tuesday.
The Chelsea center back was in Southgate’s squad for the World Cup but had fallen behind Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker for a starting spot as a center back.
Cahill, 32, won 61 caps for England, scoring five times as he played at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups and EURO 2016.
His decision to step away from the England team comes at a time when he is also fighting to remain at Chelsea as new manager Maurizio Sarri has settled on David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger as his first-choice defensive partnership. Cahill has won two Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League, plus an FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League at Chelsea.