Jamie Vardy calls time on international career with England

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Jamie Vardy has told England manager Gareth Southgate he does not wish to be selected unless there is an injury crisis.

The 32-year-old has won 26 caps for his country but does not look like adding to that tally after telling the Guardian of his decision.

“To be honest with you, this has been on my mind for a while,” the Leicester man said to the newspaper.

“I’m not getting any younger and you can see, to be fair to the gaffer, he wants to make it more youthful, which obviously had its benefits during the World Cup – we got to the semi-finals and finished fourth, which is equal to the furthest we have ever been on foreign soil.

“So I just said to Gareth that I think it’s probably best from now on, especially with the way he wants to go, to bring youngsters in who he thinks have got the ability and start nurturing them into international football.”

Vardy added that while he is not making himself available for when Southgate names his first post-World Cup squad on Thursday, “we’ve not shut the door completely”, saying he would come back if “everyone was injured”.

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Find out why Wayne Rooney is nicknamed 'Little Fatty' in China

David Cooper 22/08/2018
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Wayne Rooney is known as "Little Fatty" by Chinese football fans.

Football is often accused of having become boring in recent years, what with all the greed, incessant transfer rumours and playacting more talked about than the action on the field.

But Chinese fans have helped stem the boredom by making following the sport more fun, conjuring up their own creative and bizarre nicknames for some of football’s most popular and colourful characters.

Chinese is expressed using idiomatic characters rather than an alphabet, making it difficult to use the language to transliterate some foreign names.

That means that while someone like England striker Harry Kane or Lionel Messi keep their names in China because they are fairly simple to pronounce, many others have not been so lucky.

It is often an indication of how popular a player is in China.

Manchester United’s star midfielder Paul Pogba and manager Jose Mourinho, for example, are known as “Busty” (Pogba) and “Magic Bird” (Mourinho).

Pogba is “Busty” because his surname sounds like the word for that in Chinese, while Mourinho is similar to the Chinese phrase for “Magic Bird”.

Flying high: Jose Mourinho is known as "Magic Bird".

Flying high: Jose Mourinho is known as “Magic Bird”.

China’s popular Italian coach Marcello Lippi is “Silver Fox” on account of his grey hair and Guangzhou Evergrande’s former Barcelona midfielder Paulinho was given the moniker “Violent Bird” in an approving nod to his all-action style.

Other players thought of highly are Brazilian former AC Milan protege Alexandre Pato, who has rebuilt his career in China at Tianjin Quanjian.

The 28-year-old posts often on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and is seen as integrating into life in the country much better than many of the well-paid foreign players who are often chasing a big and often final payday.

That has earned him the respectful title “Pa Jianguo” – a patriotic nickname which partly translates as “build the country”, recognising his fondness for his adopted homeland.

Kylian Mbappe, meanwhile, is lovingly referred to as “Little Puppy” because of his tender teenage years.

Other stars, however, have not been treated so kindly.

Arsenal schemer Mesut Ozil is called “Little Wife” while “Very Homesick Boy” refers to nomadic Argentine striker Carlos Tevez who had a forgettable 12-month stint in the Chinese Super League at Shanghai Shenhua last season.

Carlos Tevez's short China stint has earned him the nickname "Very Homesick Boy".

Carlos Tevez’s short China stint has earned him the nickname “Very Homesick Boy”.

His inability to settle anywhere out of Argentina earned him the unflattering nickname.

Ozil is mockingly known as “Little Wife” because of the perception in China that the German – who recently quit international football, citing “racism and disrespect” – is timid.

Wayne Rooney similarly may not wish to read on further because the former England forward, who was once close to a move to China but now plays in the United States, is dubbed “Xiaopang” – “Little Fatty” – although that is more affectionate than offensive.

It is not just footballers who get the name treatment.

Tennis great Roger Federer is fondly called “Cow” in China, partly because of his laid-back demeanour, while Jennifer Lopez’s well-known posterior has earned her the designation “Luo Ba” (“Lord of Butt”).

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Mesut Ozil 'out of order' to make racism accusations, says Germany's Toni Kroos

David Cooper 16/08/2018
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Mesut Ozil was criticised by Toni Kroos

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos has criticised Mesut Ozil for the manner he announced his international retirement last month.

Ozil ended his international career after Germany’s World Cup group stage exit where he was booed by home fans after he and fellow midfielder Ilkay Gundogan posed for pictures with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May.

In a three-part statement, Ozil accused the German FA president Reinhard Grindel of racism. But Real Madrid midfielder Kross defending the team’s organization.

“Basically, Mesut is a long-serving national team player and deserved a better exit as a footballer,” Kroos, 28, told German daily Bild.

Critical: Toni Kroos

Critical: Toni Kroos

“I have played with Mesut for many years and know that he is a nice guy. But the way he retired was out of order.

“The proportion of his statement which was fair and justified was unfortunately overshadowed by a much higher proportion of nonsense.

“I think he himself knows that racism does not exist within the national team and the DFB.

“On the contrary, we are always committed to diversity and integration. Mesut was a good example of that, like many of our team mates.”

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