FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Europa League – Round of 16 First Leg – Club Bruges v Manchester United – Jan Breydel Stadium, Bruges, Belgium – February 20th 2020 Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic in action with Clinton Mata REUTERS / Francois Lenoir from Club Bruges
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia and Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has decided to end his international career to make way for younger players, the Serbian Football Association (FSS) announced on Friday.
The United Enforcer was not immediately available for comment, but FSS sporting director Vladimir Matijasevic was quoted by Belgrade media as saying that Matic was determined to hang up his Serbian boots.
“Aside from the fact that it was time for younger players to take over, Matic didn’t give any specific reasons for the resignation,” said Matijasevic.
“We respect his decision. He is 32 years old and has had a tough club season. European club football is demanding and so we know we need to inject fresh blood into the national team.
“We have several players who are out of the woods and we know that some of them will have time for international careers in the next year or two.”
Matic, who joined United from Chelsea in 2017, has scored two goals in 48 games for Serbia, which still has a chance to reach Euro 2020, which will take place next year after being pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Serbia will visit Norway in a playoff semi-final on October 8th. Should it win, the Balkan nation will be at home in either Scotland or Israel on November 12th to take part in the Europe-wide 24-man tournament.
Serbia will visit Russia on September 3 and entertain Turkey three days later in Belgrade for the opening games of the Nations League.
Letter from Zoran Milosavljevic; Arrangement by Toby Davis