England midfielder James Milner has announced his retirement from international football.
The Liverpool star, 30, has 61 Three Lions caps to his name, along with 46 at Under-21 level, more than any other England player.
He had previously stated his willingness to step aside and make way for the next generation, stating “‘With the good young players that we have coming through, it is pointless me taking up a spot just because I am reliable.’
Following a meeting with the FA and new England manager Sam Allardyce, Milner said:
‘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.
‘I think the decision we have reached is all about common sense. I wish Sam, the players, staff and supporters success in the future.”
Allardyce thanked Milner for his service, while revealing that the door is open should Milner change his mind.
He said: ‘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.
‘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.‘
Milner made his senior England debut in 2009, in a Friendly against the Netherlands. His competitive debut came shortly after against Croatia. His only England goal came in a 5-0 win away to Moldova in 2012. He has featured in four major tournaments for England, including playing for only three minutes of their disastrous Euro 2016 campaign.
By Steve Osborne @BlizzardSteve75