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Page last updated at 22:57 GMT, Sunday, 8 August 2010 23:57 UK

Fulham's Simon Davies calls time on Wales career

Simon Davies
Davies won 58 caps and scored six goals in a nine-year Wales career

Wales midfielder Simon Davies has retired from international football.

The 30-year-old Fulham player won 58 caps for Wales, scoring six goals, after making his debut in 2001.

The Football Association of Wales said Davies had decided to concentrate on club football after struggling with a foot injury for the past 18 months.

Davies has slipped down the Wales midfield pecking order due to emergence of Aaron Ramsey, David Edwards, Jack Collison, Joe Ledley and Andy King.

But the news will be a blow for Wales boss John Toshack, who only last week spoke about the importance of senior players such as Davies as Wales attempt to qualify for Euro 2012.

Davies, who made his Wales bow debut in a World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in March 2001, last played for Wales in the friendly loss to Sweden in March but that had been his first appearance in almost a year because of injury.

And Davies, who captained Wales in their 2-0 defeat by Germany in April 2009, even admitted to BBC Sport almost exactly 12 months ago that he considered quitting Wales.

"I did initially think after this campaign I'd have a look and see about retiring from Wales," Davies said last year.

Archive - Simon Davies scores his most famous Wales goal against Italy in 2002

"It gets harder and harder because the Premier League is so demanding.

"It is sometimes difficult to go away with Wales when you see the other lads having a few days off recharging their batteries."

But Davies deciding to call time on his international career is the latest in a long line of high-profile experienced Wales players to retirement since previous boss Mark Hughes quit.

Gary Speed, Robbie Savage, Mark Delaney, John Hartson, Mark Pembridge, Andy Melville, Ryan Giggs and Jason Koumas have all quit Wales since Hughes left to take over at Blackburn in 2004.

But Toshack is in the middle of a Wales rebuilding process with the country's promising youngsters.

And Davies was one of the senior Welsh players criticised following Wales' disappointing World Cup qualifying defeat to an average Finland side in Cardiff in March last year, a loss that made 2010 World Cup qualification virtually impossible.

Arsenal playmaker Ramsey, West Ham sensation Collison, Celtic new boy Ledley, Wolverhampton Wanderers youngster Edwards and King of Leicester are ahead of Davies in Toshack's pecking order.

But Toshack hoped that Davies would have continued at international level until long-term injury absentees Aaron Ramsey and Jack Collison, the Premier League stars who will miss Wales' first three World Cup qualifiers, return to full fitness in the new year.

"This is a big thing as we're all still hurting about the Ramsey and Collison business," said Toshack.

"And particularly alongside Edwards and Ledley, we can see a lot of hope there. But Ledley and Edwards have also been operated on lately, as have Simon and Brian Stock, so we have had little continuity in midfield.

"But the decision has been made by Simon now and if it is in his best interests of prolonging his career, we just have to accept it."

So instead of Davies - a star of Fulham's charge to last season's Europa Cup final - being a Wales squad player, the Haverfordwest-born player informed the Welsh FA of his decision to retire.

Former Wales striker Ian Walsh, a BBC Wales football pundit, is Davies' uncle and he admits: "I've got to say I don't agree the fact that he is retiring but I do understand it.

"Simon over his career has had quite a few injury problems, he has quite sore feet and he was going to see how pre-season panned out before making this decision.

"I spoke to him and he feels at this stage of his career, he's 31 this year, is an important time for him and he felt it wasn't the right time for him to carry on with international football sadly.

"Simon has loved playing for his country, he has played 58 times and he has always turned up for friendly matches, that to a certain extent haven't been important matches but he has always been there and given everything he has got.

"He has had some really memorable moments in the Welsh shirt and is absolutely gutted to make this decision but he knows his own body."

Davies' most memorable period as a Wales player was in the memorable 2004 European Championship qualifying campaign when he scored three goals in three successive games - including a strike in Wales' 2-1 win over Italy in 2002.

Wales begin their preparations for their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, which begins in Montenegro on 3 September, with a friendly against Luxembourg in Llanelli on Wednesday.

"He explained to me why he wanted to retire," added Toshack.

"And after just one 60 minute appearance in the last 18 months, he has been operated on twice and had a lot of problems, he feels with his physical condition the time players get off now during international breaks would be better used to look after his own fitness."



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see also
Wales 5-1 Luxembourg
11 Aug 10 |  Welsh
Toshack fears Euro defence crisis
07 Aug 10 |  Welsh
Davies considered quitting Wales
05 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Davies wins Welsh football gong
07 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Davies seals transfer to Fulham
24 Jan 07 |  Fulham
Welsh Footballer of the Year
10 Oct 02 |  Sports Talk
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Welsh
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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