Jamie Vardy has not “shut the door completely” on his England career, but the Leicester striker no longer wishes to be considered for selection by Gareth Southgate.
The 31-year-old has been capped on 26 occasions by his country, with a debut made back in 2015.
A first selection by the Three Lions completed a remarkable rise for the Foxes frontman, with international recognition coming just three years after he was turning out for Fleetwood in non-league football.
Vardy is delighted to have played his part over Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 campaigns, netting seven goals along the way, but feels the time is right to make way for the next generation.
He told The Guardian: “To be honest with you, this has been on my mind for a while.
“I’m not getting any younger and you can see, to be fair to the gaffer [Gareth Southgate], 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 admits that travelling away from his family for his long periods with no guarantee of playing influenced his decision.
He added: “Yeah, I think that had an impact.
“When you get selected, you want to be playing. If you’re playing week in, week out for your club, you want to be going to England to play as well. And if it’s not happening, then for me personally now, at this age, it’s better to be at home, spending that time with my family and training with my club, preparing for the next game after the international break.”
The forward says he will still be available to England if required, but he decided after a memorable showing from the Three Lions in Russia over the summer that he was ready to walk away.
He said: “I explained it all to Gareth and he was fine with my decision.
“I mentioned it to him after the World Cup had finished, out in Russia, and then I spoke to him on the phone a couple of weeks ago. He let it die down a bit, so that I could have a bit more time to think, and then rang me up just to make sure I wasn’t just taking the mickey in Russia. But I hadn’t changed my mind.
“Gareth said that he felt I still had a lot to offer, and we’ve not shut the door completely. If the worst came to happen and everyone was injured, then obviously I wouldn’t say no.”
Source : Goal