Following Craig Bellamy’s recent suggestion he would retire from playing for Wales when their current qualification campaign ended, we look at five other players whose international careers ended with a whimper. The much-travelled veteran is 9/5 to notch at any time during the first game of his extended swansong against Serbia.
The goalkeeper won 41 caps for England and was first choice during the 2006 World Cup, but his form slipped afterwards culminating in a high profile error in the 2-1 defeat to Russia during the doomed Euro 2008 qualification campaign. After two years in the wilderness Robinson was called up after the 2010 World Cup, only to promptly retire from international football, probably bemused that he needed to.
Perhaps the most surprising part of Jason Koumas’ retirement from Wales duty was that it took so long to come. The midfielder missed over half of the 75 international matches between his debut and his retirement for various reasons, and skilfully avoided playing a game outside the UK for a two-and-a-half-year stretch between 2005 and 2008, before retiring a year later at the age of 29.
Boateng played at several youth levels for Germany but, recognising that he was unlikely to make the full national team, he defected to Ghana suspiciously close to World Cup 2010. The midfielder made five appearances in South Africa, a tally that still stands at over half his caps for Ghana, as he retired in 2011 to focus on club commitments. With Ghana well set to qualify for the World Cup next year, Boateng has recently returned to the fold, a trick that really should not work twice.
After scoring four goals in his first six games for Ireland, Stephen Ireland looked well set to enjoy a fine international career. However the midfielder last played a game for Ireland aged just 21, after a series of lies saw him fake the death of both his grandmothers in order to avoid a crucial Euro 2008 qualifier, resulting in exile from the international set-up.
After England’s disastrous World Cup campaign in South Africa there were few players that fans would have shed a tear saying goodbye to and Emile Heskey was certainly not one of them. The, for lack of a better word, striker somewhat unnecessarily called time on his England career after the tournament, having notched seven goals in 62 caps.