• Premier League

Anichebe retires from international football

ESPN staff
May 2, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Victor Anichebe wants to focus on life with Everton © PA Photos
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Everton forward Victor Anichebe has called time on his international career after admitting he needs to focus on the club that has supported him through his injury nightmares.

However, the 25-year-old has hinted he may return to the Nigerian international team sometime in the future.

Anichebe has scored 6 goals in 16 Premier League appearances this campaign, helping the club to move within touching distance of a spot in Europe for next season.

However, the striker's goals have been offset by numerous injury woes, with the former England youth international continually forced to endure long stints on the side-lines.

But now healthy and staking a claim in the Everton's starting line-up, Anichebe is adamant he cannot be distracted by the lure of international football - an arena where he has not felt fully supported.

"The best thing for me at the moment is to focus on club football," Anichebe told the BBC. "Without club football there is no international football and everyone at Everton was with me every step of the way during my injuries and rehabilitation and so I owe it to the club to manage myself correctly.

"I didn't feel that the Nigerian federation was there for me then in the same manner, which was especially disappointing given that I got the injury representing my country.

"But I don't blame anyone for this nor do I have any issues with anybody from the NFF or Stephen Keshi our coach. He has done a fantastic job and is building a team that Nigerians can be proud of."

Anichebe's decision may find him missing out on a new era with the Nigerian international team after the Super Eagles claimed this year's African Cup and booked a spot in the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Nigeria are also well placed to make the next round of Africa's World Cup qualifying for Brazil 2014, leading Group F with three matches to play.

However, the striker said Nigeria's recent success only brought him nothing but happiness and admitted that, one day in the future, he may return to the Super Eagle's nest.

"A lot of people ask me if I was sad that I wasn't part of the Nations Cup winning team but I couldn't have been happier because it brought so much happiness to Nigerians especially after there has been so much tragedy," Anichebe added.

"I know football cannot take away some of the pain it has caused but it was good for the country. I am just like the 170 million Nigerians out there, I am a fan obviously as well as a player.

"If I had gone would I be playing for my club at the level I am now? Perhaps not, so it worked out well for both sides.

"The time is just not right for me to resume my international career as of yet but I would certainly love to represent my country in the none-too-distant future."

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