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Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 10:10 UK

Fletcher opts to end Wales career

International friendly: Montenegro v Wales
Venue: Gradski Stadium, Podgorica Date: Wed, 12 August Kick-off: 1930 BST
Live on BBC TWO Wales and online & full commentary on BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru

Carl Fletcher has won 36 caps for Wales since his debut against Scotland in 2004
Carl Fletcher has won 36 caps for Wales since his debut in 2004

Wales midfielder Carl Fletcher has retired from international football.

The 29-year-old had been named in Wales' squad for Wednesday's friendly against Montenegro in Podgorica.

But the Plymouth player informed Wales manager John Toshack and his team-mates of his decision by telephone when the squad assembled in Cardiff on Sunday.

"I felt the time was right. I am not getting any younger and Wales have got so many good players coming through now," Fletcher said.

"It's harder for me to keep up with them. There is going to be a fantastic future for Welsh football with the quality and the attitude of all the young players."

Fletcher made his debut in a 4-0 friendly win over Scotland in Cardiff in February 2004, going on to earn 36 caps and scored one for his country.

The combative midfielder started his career at Bournemouth and has also played for West Ham and Crystal Palace.

Fletcher captained Wales once, in a 1-0 win against Iceland in Reykjavik in May 2008.

He played in Plymouth's opening league game of the season on Saturday - a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace - and had previously given no hint he was thinking of quitting the international game.

But Fletcher has stepped aside now that Wales have a glut of up-and-coming youngsters in midfield including Aaron Ramsey, Joe Ledley, David Edwards, Joe Allen, Andy King and Jack Collison.


"I have enjoyed probably 90% of it [his international career]. I have made some great friends there and really learned a lot from it," Fletcher told the Plymouth website.

"Whether they've been good games or bad games, we played some great sides, but, sometimes the travelling gets to you a bit as you get older.

"I take some great memories away and things to tell my kids and grandkids.

"I really want to do well for Plymouth Argyle. I've come here this season and I've really started to enjoy my football again after the last couple of years, which was tough at times."

Surplus to requirements at Palace, Fletcher is now enjoying a new lease of life at club level after his summer move to Plymouth.

Fletcher emerged as a reliable, competitive defensive midfielder after making his international debut.

He was left out of the Wales squads that faced Estonia and Azerbaijan at the end of last season, but had earned a recall for the Montenegro match.

Wales have also lost Wolves midfielder Edwards from their squad to travel to Podgorica.

Edwards, 23, has a groin injury and after driving to Cardiff on Sunday for assessment was ruled out of the trip.

Wales will not call up any replacements to cover for the loss of Fletcher and Edwards.

Cardiff's Joe Ledley, who was sick this weekend and came off at half-time in the Bluebirds' 4-0 victory over Scunthorpe, is fit to travel.

There had also been doubt over captain Craig Bellamy after his club manager at Manchester City, former Wales boss Mark Hughes, said that the striker's problem knee might rule him out of the trip.

However, as of Monday morning there was no indication that Bellamy would not travel with the squad to Montenegro.

Wales Under-21s manager Brian Flynn has also lost two players from his squad to face Hungary in a Uefa Championship clash at Wrexham on Wednesday.

Swansea midfielder Allen is out with a hamstring injury and Chelsea have withdrawn goalkeeper Rhys Taylor.

Flynn has called-up Swansea's David Cornell, the Under-17s goalkeeper, as well as Cardiff defender Adam Matthews, who has been capped by the Under-19s.

Wales: Wayne Hennessey (Wolves), Lewis Price (Derby), Owain Fon Williams (Stockport), James Collins (West Ham), Neil Eardley (Blackpool), Danny Gabbidon (West Ham), Chris Gunter (Nottm Forest), Craig Morgan (Peterborough), Lewin Nyatanga (Bristol C), Sam Ricketts (Bolton), Ashley Williams (Swansea), Jack Collison (West Ham), David Cotterill (Sheff Utd), Owain Tudur Jones (Norwich), Joe Ledley (Cardiff), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Craig Bellamy (Man City), Simon Church (Reading), Rob Earnshaw (Nottm Forest), Sam Vokes (Wolves).

Montenegro: Vukasin Poleksic (Debrecin), Mladen Bozovic (Partizan Belgrade), Savo Pavicevic (Energie Cottbus), Marko Basa (Lokomotiv Moscow), Luka Pejovic (Mogren), Milan Jovanovic (Rapid Vienna), Radoslav Batak (Ankaraspor), Vladimir Bozovic (Rapid Bucharest), Miodrag Dzudovic (Spartak Nalchik), Nemanja Nikolic (Red Star Belgrade), Simon Vukcevic (Sporting Lisbon), Milorad Pekovic (Mainz 05), Nikola Drincic (Amkar Perm), Mitar Novakovic (Amkar Perm), Mladen Kascelan (LKS Lodz), Elsad Zverotic (Lucerne), Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina), Radomir Dalovic (Rapid Bucharest).

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see also
Gabbidon starts in Wales friendly
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Gabbidon handed recall by Wales
07 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Scotland game frustrates Johnson
04 Aug 09 |  Bristol City
Defender Bale has knee operation
03 Jun 09 |  Tottenham
Davies injury hits Fulham & Wales
01 May 09 |  Fulham
Williams backed for Wales call-up
05 Mar 08 |  Welsh
Wales announce Montenegro match
11 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Evans boosts Wales U21 Uefa bid
29 Jul 09 |  Internationals
Country profile: Montenegro
14 Nov 09 |  Country profiles
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Feb 09 |  Wales

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