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Tuesday, 13 August, 2002, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Robinson closes door on Wales
John Robinson greets Juan Veron after Argentina's draw with Wales prior to the 2002 World Cup
Robinson has been a great servant for club and country
Wales midfielder John Robinson announced his retirement from international football on Tuesday.

Wales manager Mark Hughes tried to persuade the Charlton player to change his mind but was forced to admit defeat, and Robinson's name was missing from Hughes' squad to play Croatia.

"It was a difficult decision to take, but I had to do what was best for myself," Robinson said.

The door is still open for him if he ever wants to return
Wales manager Mark Hughes

"I've been considering it all summer and I didn't think it was fair to Wales to step down midway through the European Championship qualifying campaign.

"I've had seven great years playing for Wales and it's been a real honour, but I wouldn't have been giving them 100 per cent and that's not the kind of person I am."

Hughes respected Robinson's decision but said he is sorry to see him go: "I fully understand John's decision, but I did try to persuade him to change his mind.

"I talked to him on Thursday and asked him to consider his decision over the weekend, but when we spoke again on Sunday he was still determined to stick to his original plan."

  John Robinson factfile:
Height: 5ft 10in
Weight: 11st 4lb
DoB: 29/08/71
Born: Bulawyo, Zim
Wales caps: 30
Wales goals: 3
(1992, 75,000)
(1989, trainee)

Robinson, 32 later this month, made his debut in 1995 against Albania and has played 30 games for Wales since, scoring three goals.

Born in Rhodesia, he qualified for Wales only because he was a British passport holder - a qualification that would not be allowed under current rules.

But Robinson made such an impact with his adopted country that he was named Wales player of the year two seasons ago.

Robinson is the Addicks' most capped player and club boss Alan Curbishley awarded him his 10-year testimonial at the weekend against Porto, and admitted then that recent months had been highly emotional and difficult for him.

The hard-working midfielder has had considerable personal problems recently following the death of his father, and a desire to spend more time with his family is behind his decision to stand down from the Wales squad.

"He has suffered some terrible family problems with the death of his father," Hughes added.

"He wanted to step down now before we start our European qualifying campaign rather than have to do it later and upset our preparations.

Wales manager Mark hughes
Mark Hughes is sorry to lose Robinson

"The door is still open for him if he ever wants to return. He has been a fine team-mate, a great servant to Wales and for me now, and a joy to have had him as a player in my squad now I'm manager."

Newcastle pair Gary Speed and Craig Bellamy, who are both injured, have both been left out for the friendly in Varazdin on 21 August.

But the Wales manager has named Ryan Giggs, even though Manchester United will play a Premiership game against Chelsea two days after the match in Croatia.

Hughes also revealed that he hopes to have news of his full-time appointment by the weekend.

His agent, Dennis Roach, will meet FAW secretary general David Collins on Friday to finalise negotiations for a new deal, which will need to be ratified by the FAW council next month.

He looks set to be offered an extension which would run until the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

Wales squad:
Goalkeepers: Paul Jones (Southampton), Mark Crossley (Middlesbrough), Darren Ward (Nottingham Forest).
Defenders: Darren Barnard (Grimsby), Mark Delaney (Aston Villa), Steve Jenkins (Huddersfield), Andy Melville (Fulham), Robert Page (Sheffield United), Danny Gabbidon (Cardiff).
Midfielders: Andy Johnson (West Bromwich Albion), Carl Robinson (Portsmouth), Jason Koumas (Tranmere), Mark Pembridge (Everton), Simon Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Paul Evans (Bradford), Robbie Savage (Birmingham).
Forwards: Nathan Blake (Wolverhampton Wanderers), John Hartson (Celtic), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Robert Earnshaw (Cardiff), Iwan Roberts (Norwich), Gareth Taylor (Burnley).

Croatia squad:
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Hajduk Split), Tomislav Butina (Dynamo Zagreb).
Defenders: Boris Zivkovic (Bayer Leverkusen/Ger), Robert Kovac (Bayern Munchen/Ger), Dario Simic (AC Milan/Ita), Stjepan Tomas (Vicenza/Ita), Niko Kovac (Bayern Munchen/Ger), Jerko Leko (Dynamo Zagreb).
Midfielders: Josip Simunic (Hertha Berlin/Ger), Jurica Vranjes (Bayer Leverkusen/Ger), Filip Tapalovic (VfL Bochum/Ger), Silvio Maric (Dynamo Zagreb), Danijel Saric (Panathinaikos/Gre).
Strikers: Davor Vugrinec (Lecce/Ita), Milan Rapaic (Fenerbahce Istanbul/Tur), Tomislav Maric (Wolfsburg/Ger), Mario Bazina (GAK Graz/Aut), Marijo Maric (Karnten/Aut), Mladen Petric (Grasshoppers/Swi), Goran Vlaovic (Panathinaikos/Gre).

Wales manager Mark Hughes
"It's a chance to look at some players"
See also:

12 Aug 02 | Champions League
12 Aug 02 | Birmingham City
13 Aug 02 | Wrexham
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