Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic has announced his retirement from international duty.
The 32-year-old has made 48 appearances for Serbia, scoring two goals.
It is unfortunate timing for his national side, who are due to meet Norway in the Euro 2021 play-off semi-final in October.
The Serbian FA sports director Vladimir Matijasevic told Sky Sports: ‘Other than saying it was time for younger players to take over, Matic did not state any other specific reasons for quitting.
‘We respect his decision. He is 32 years old and he’s had an exerting club season. European club football is demanding and hence we are aware that we’ll have to inject fresh blood into the national team.’
Matic recently signed a new three-year contract at Old Trafford, which raised eyebrows due to his age.
The club’s usual policy for players of a similar age is to renew them on a year-by-year rolling contract.
It is possible his retirement from international duty was discussed in those negotiations and could even have been the price of being granted such a long contract, as his ability to focus purely on his club football will increase his chances of extending his playing career at the top level for as long as possible.
Whatever the case, the announcement is excellent news for the Red Devils, who rely on the Serbian as their only specialist holding midfielder.
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