Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill announced their intention to retire from international duty with England on Tuesday, although both did leave the door open to a return in emergency circumstances.
Leicester striker Vardy, 31, and Chelsea defender Cahill, 32, were both part of Gareth Southgate’s squad that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.
However, both saw their playing time limited and believe the time has come to concentrate on their club careers.
“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,” Vardy, who started just once at the World Cup in a group stage dead rubber against Belgium, told the Guardian.
“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.”
Vardy only made his international debut in 2015 after spending much of his career in England’s lower leagues and scored seven goals in 26 appearances for his country.
He has largely played second fiddle to captain Harry Kane under Southgate, but pledged to make himself available if injuries made the likes of Kane and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford unavailable.
“Gareth said that he felt I still had a lot to offer, and we’ve not shut the door completely,” added Vardy. “If the worst came to happen and everyone was injured, then obviously I wouldn’t say no.”
Cahill had a more decorated England career with 61 caps stretching back to 2010 and started every game for the Three Lions at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
However, Cahill is yet to feature for Chelsea this season under new boss Maurizio Sarri and admits his club future is his immediate priority.
“In terms of my international future I think it is time I take a step back,” he told Chelsea TV.
“Now I feel is the right moment to do that. I feel hugely proud of what I have achieved in terms of over 60 caps, I have captained my country on a few occasions which is a huge honour.”
Yet, Cahill too left the door open for a recall if needed by Southgate.
“I would never shut the door, if I was ever needed in the future then obviously I’m there.”
Southgate will announce his first post-World Cup squad for England’s Nations League opener against Spain and a friendly at home to Switzerland next month on Thursday.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional Edits by Oisin McQueirns)