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Koumas quits Wales over injury problems

Wales midfielder Jason Koumas has quit international football three days before his country's World Cup qualifier against Russia.

The Wigan player, who has struggled for several months with hamstring problems, believes he can extend his Premier League career only by taking the maximum rest time between matches.

Wrexham-born Koumas informed Wales boss John Toshack of his decision yesterday, conscious that his injury would rule him out of Wednesday's Millennium Stadium clash anyway.

Koumas has taken a similar line to former Wales captain Ryan Giggs, who also quit to extend his first-team career at Manchester United.

Koumas has won 34 caps and would almost certainly have retired before next year's Euro 2012 qualifiers — but with just away games against Finland and Liechtenstein to follow the Russia game in World Cup Qualifying Group Four, he decided now was the time.

Toshack accepted the decision and told the 29-year-old he wishes him well with his future career at Wigan and thanked him for his services to Wales.

Koumas made his Wales debut against Ukraine in 2001 and has scored 10 goals for his country. He has made his decision, it is believed, after discussions with new Wigan boss Roberto Martinez.

Sadly, Koumas never fulfilled his early potential for his country. He had an unfortunate reputation for failing to play in away games, believed to have been partly caused by a fear of flying.

This week, it was clear Koumas was struggling for fitness — when Toshack reported: “This is a worrying injury; we have had reports from Wigan to that effect.”

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