Chris Brunt announces retirement from international football
Northern Ireland midfielder Chris Brunt has announced his retirement from international football. Our man won 65 caps in an international career that spanned 14 years.
Brunt made his debut on 18 August 2004 in a nil-all draw in a friendly match against Switzerland in Zurich. He ended his international career against the same opposition, with the same scoreline, when Northern Ireland drew in the FIFA World Cup Play-Off second-leg game against Switzerland in Basel last November.
He scored three goals for his country. His first was a free-kick away to San Marino in 2009, while his final goal was also a free-kick – a perfectly placed strike against the Czech Republic at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in September 2017.
Northern Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill, said: “I am disappointed that Chris is retiring as I believe that he still has much to offer the team, however I completely understand his decision to spend a bit more time with his young family and to concentrate fully on his club career with West Brom.
“I want to thank him for everything that he gave me on the pitch. He was a model professional and his contribution to the Northern Ireland team over the past 14 years will be remembered for a long time to come.”
Chris has also penned a statement to his country.
_After a period of lengthy consideration I have taken the difficult decision to retire from international football.
I have spent a lot of time thinking it over but I feel, at this point in my career, I need my sole football focus to be on helping West Bromwich Albion return to the Premier League._
The past six years, since Michael has been our manager, have been the most enjoyable of my international career. It has always been an honour to represent my country but Michael restored pride following a difficult period for us as a team. He took us to a new level and for that I will always be grateful.
He is one of the best managers I’ve worked with at any level of football and I have nothing but admiration and respect for the job he’s done and continues to do. Not only that, he’s also a genuinely good guy who I enjoy spending time with and learning from.
I would also like to thank my team-mates and all of the staff who have helped me over the years. A special thank you to the medical team who gave me so much support during our last campaign, especially after my knee injury.
To all of my family, who have dedicated so much of their lives to supporting me while representing Northern Ireland, thank you so much. I know you have enjoyed it every bit as much as I have.
Lastly, but most importantly, I would like to thank the Northern Ireland fans, who have provided atmospheres I will remember for the rest of my days. It was always a pleasure to play in front of you. I look forward to returning to Windsor Park on your side of the white line.
It was my pleasure.