Belfast Telegraph

Aaron Hughes: Euro 2016 France finals may be nice way to bow out

By Staff Reporter

Northern Ireland legend Aaron Hughes has admitted that the Euro 2016 finals in France may provide the perfect way to bring the curtain down on his magnificent international career.

The 36-year-old defender, who is hoping to win his 97th cap in the friendly against Wales in Cardiff tomorrow night, has revealed he will make the final decision in the months ahead.

Hughes, playing his club football in Australia with Melbourne City, said: "Certainly the Euros would be a nice way to finish. That being said, I enjoy joining up with Northern Ireland and enjoy being an international so it would be hard to call it a day.

"I'll see how a few things pan out, then I'll make a decision."

The former Newcastle, Aston Villa and Fulham star added that no matter how long he continues, he still wants to be able to contribute to Northern Ireland, as he has done since making his debut 18 years ago this week.

"For me personally I wouldn't want to come here and feel like I couldn't do a job," said Hughes.

"The thing with playing international football is that you need to be doing well at your club. You need to be playing at a level high enough to be able to cope with playing international football."

While fitness permitting, Hughes will be in France as part of Michael O'Neill's 23-man squad, his long-time international colleague Chris Brunt won't have any chance of playing due to a serious knee injury.

"I was gutted for Brunty when I heard the news. We are all devastated for him," said Hughes.

"If anyone deserves to go to a tournament it is Brunty. He has been through the bad times and was so influential in our successful qualifying campaign.

"It's a loss for us in every way, from his quality on the pitch to his experience off it. The main thing is he gets better soon, though at this stage that's no consolation to him."

Belfast Telegraph