Sheffield United: Reason behind Ollie Norwood's international retirement revealed as Michael O'Neill reveals he 'tried everything' to change midfielder's mind

Northern Ireland Michael O’Neill has revealed he ‘tried everything’ to change Ollie Norwood’s mind over his international retirement.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 6:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 6:13 pm
Oliver Norwood (right) and Enda Stevens: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The 57-cap Sheffield United midfielder announced his decision earlier this month, with O’Neill admitting he felt Norwood was making a ‘huge mistake’.

O’Neill confirmed Norwood made the decision in order to focus on his club career with United.

“Ollie is a player who was picked consistently to start so it's not as if he wasn't being selected," said O'Neill.

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"He started every one of 26 qualification games in a row over a four-year period, the only player in the squad to have done that.

"You look at the likes of Aaron (Hughes), Gareth (McAuley), Steven Davis and Jonny Evans - they really value their international careers. They want to play as long as possible. They want to get 100 caps.

"Ollie had that opportunity but he has decided his club career takes priority and he has the right to make that decision."

After being promoted three times to the Premier League, Norwood finally made his top-flight debut with the Blades, captaining them in all three league games so far.

"It's his decision and I can't influence it any more than I've tried to," O'Neill added.

"I tried everything, as I have done in the past with players who have contemplated retirement," he added.

"Players like Aaron Hughes - I've always tried to make sure they've got the maximum out of their international careers. It's a disappointment for me but there's very little more I can do."