Sheffield United: Oliver Norwood gives his response when asked about possible Northern Ireland return

Sheffield United midfielder Oliver Norwood has told The Star he has no regrets about retiring from international duty with Northern Ireland, despite watching 14 of his teammates being called-up by the respective countries this week.
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Norwood won 57 senior caps before announcing he no longer wished to be considered for selection by then manager Michael O’Neill three years ago, although the former Stoke City chief’s successor Ian Baraclough attempted to change his mind soon after being appointed.

Asked if the sight of Iliman Ndiaye, George Baldock, John Egan and others leaving Bramall Lane this week might tempt him to consider a return, Norwood replied: “No, not one bit. I’ve got a young family, two young children. The amount of time we spend away being footballers is hard on wives, partners and kids.”

Oliver Norwood is focusing on Sheffield United: Lexy Ilsley / SportimageOliver Norwood is focusing on Sheffield United: Lexy Ilsley / Sportimage
Oliver Norwood is focusing on Sheffield United: Lexy Ilsley / Sportimage
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Norwood is among only a handful of senior players remaining at the Randox Health Academy this week, where United manager Paul Heckingbottom is attempting to address some of the injury issues which have overshadowed the club’s rise to the top of the Championship table. With defenders Max Lowe, Jack Robinson and Enda Stevens already ruled out of action and not expected to return until the beginning of November, United’s coaching staff will have been distraught to learn that centre-half Anel Ahmedhodzic has damaged a thigh muscle whilst preparing for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s forthcoming meetings with Montenegro and Romania.

Having now won all of their last four league outings following Saturday’s 2-0 win over Preston North End, United travelled to Deepdale a little over 48 hours after returning from an away game at Swansea City. Heckingbottom chose to base his side in south Wales for two nights rather than the usual one after arranging a training session at the Vale of Glamorgan hotel the morning after the contest.

Anel Ahmedhodzic has been injured on international duty: Simon Bellis / SportimageAnel Ahmedhodzic has been injured on international duty: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Anel Ahmedhodzic has been injured on international duty: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“We’ve been on the road for three days and it will be nice to go home and spend some time with the family,” Norwood said. “Three nights away, it asks a lot of them and I’m looking forward to having some proper time with them. They make a lot of sacrifices so I can do what I do.”