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Sport

Matic calls time on Serbia career - Serbian FA

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 32 First Leg - Club Brugge v Manchester United - Jan Breydel Stadium, Bruges, Belgium - February 20, 2020 Manchester United's Nemanja Matic in action with Club Brugge's Clinton Mata REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia and Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has decided to end his international career in order to make way for younger players, the Serbian Football Association (FSS) said on Friday.

The United enforcer was not immediately available for comment but FSS sports director Vladimir Matijasevic was quoted as saying by Belgrade media that Matic was determined to hang up his Serbia boots.

“Other than saying it was time for younger players to take over, Matic did not state any other specific reasons for quitting,” said Matijasevic.

“We respect his decision. He is 32 years old and he’s had an exerting club season. European club football is demanding and hence we are aware that we’ll have to inject fresh blood into the national team.

“We’ve got several players who are over the hill and we realise that some of them may call time on their international careers in the next year or two.”

Matic, who joined United from Chelsea in 2017, has scored two goals in 48 appearances for Serbia, who still have a chance of reaching Euro 2020 to be held next year after it was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Serbia visit Norway in a playoff semi-final on Oct. 8 and should they win, the Balkan nation will be at home to either Scotland or Israel on Nov. 12 for a berth in the 24-team tournament to be held across Europe.

Serbia visit Russia on Sept 3. and entertain Turkey in Belgrade three days later in their opening Nations League matches.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis

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