Michael O’Neill: Norwood’s international retirement ‘a huge mistake’

Sheffield United midfielder calls time on Northern Ireland career at 28-years-old

Oliver Norwood has retired from international football. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Oliver Norwood has retired from international football. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

 

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has called Oliver Norwood’s decision to retire from international football “premature” and “a huge mistake”.

The 28-year-old midfielder made the announcement on Monday, wanting to concentrate on his club career with Sheffield United — who are back in the Premier League after a 12-year absence and won their first game of the season against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Norwood, who was born in Burnley but qualified to play for Northern Ireland through his grandfather, won 57 caps for his country and also represented them at under-19 and under-21 level.

“I think he is making a huge mistake. He is only 28 and I’ve no doubt he could have continued to play club and international football for many years,” O’Neill told irishfa.com.

“Ollie has been a mainstay of our team for the past seven years. I know this was not an easy decision for Ollie to make, however I think his decision is premature.

“He had the opportunity to leave an incredible legacy at international level and the potential to reach 100 caps.

“Ollie will be a loss to our squad, however we have won our four qualifying games to date (for Euro 2020) in his absence and the squad will continue to progress, and I believe the players in my squad are more than capable of reaching another major tournament.”

Norwood, who came through the ranks at Manchester United, was handed his international debut by former manager Nigel Worthington, coming on as a substitute in a 2-0 friendly defeat to Montenegro in Podgorica in August 2010.

Fifty-two of his 57 caps for Northern Ireland came under current boss O’Neill.

“After proudly representing Northern Ireland on 57 occasions, I feel now is the right time to announce my retirement from international football,” Norwood said in a statement released via his club.

“I’ve enjoyed the highs of a major tournament — being part of the squad in France at Euro 2016 was the proudest point of my international career.

“I would like to thank the manager, Michael O’Neill, for selecting me on so many occasions to represent my country, and also to the players I’ve played with through the years. We’ve had some enjoyable times.

“A huge thank you, too, to the GAWA (Green and White Army) for the tremendous support offered through the years. In my opinion the GAWA really are the best fans in the world and hopefully the squad can deliver more success for them to enjoy.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.