Northern Ireland star Chris Brunt announces retirement from international football
Chris Brunt has retired from international football after taking time to consider his decision.
The 33-year-old ends his Northern Ireland career with 65 caps across a 14 year period. He had been left out of the squads for friendlies against Korea Republic, Panama and Costa Rica earlier this year as he weighed up his future.
- Read more: Chris Brunt statement in full: I'll be back at Windsor Park as Northern Ireland fan after international retirement
The Belfast man scored three goals for NI, the last one this beauty of a free-kick against Czech Republic last year.
Brunt was, of course, cruelly robbed of the chance to play at the Euro 2016 finals when he sustained a knee ligament injury when playing for West Brom just a few months before the tournament. He travelled to France nonetheless, encouraging his team-mates from the sidelines.
There was a certain symmetry to Brunt's career, as he earned his first cap in a 0-0 draw with Switzerland back in August 2004 before finishing off with his final cap against Switzerland last November, that match also a 0-0 draw in the World Cup play-off second leg.
During the last six years Chris brunt not only played his best football for NI but inspired and encouraged players around him to lift their game and play above themselves. He shouted and cajoled but only for the betterment of @NorthernIreland . So versatile with a deadly left peg— Paul Ferguson (@PaulFergusonSL) August 21, 2018
“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," said NI boss Michael O'Neill.
“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.”
Brunt will now concentrate on trying to help West Brom back to the top tier of English football after suffering relegation last term. He has started all four of the club's Championship fixtures so far this season.
Belfast Telegraph Digital