Chris Brunt: West Brom midfielder retires from Northern Ireland duty


Brunt was regularly deployed by Michael O’Neill as a left-back for Northern Ireland in recent years

West Brom’s Northern Ireland midfielder Chris Brunt has retired from international football.

Brunt, 33, won 65 international caps and scored three goals after making his debut against Switzerland in 2004.

He missed out on Northern Ireland’s thrilling Euro 2016 finals campaign owing to a serious knee injury.

Brunt, who also featured at left-back, played his final game for his country in the 2018 World Cup play-off second leg against Switzerland last November.

O’Neill’s side drew 0-0 in Basel to lose 1-0 to the Swiss on aggregate and miss out on a place at this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.

Manager Michael O’Neill left Brunt out of his recent squads to give the player time to consider his international future following the defeat by Switzerland.

Brunt scored one of his three international goals in the 4-0 win over Azerbaijan in November 2016

“I am disappointed Chris is retiring as I believe he still has much to offer the team, however I completely understand his decision to spend a bit more time with his young family and to concentrate on his club career,” said O’Neill.

“I want to thank him for everything he gave me on the pitch. He was a model professional and his contribution to the Northern Ireland team over the past 14 years will be remembered for a long time.”

Brunt played in eight of the games that saw Northern Ireland reach Euro 2016 – their first appearance in a major finals for 30 years.

Despite a knee injury ruling him out of the tournament, the former Sheffield Wednesday player travelled to France to support his team-mates.

His first and last goals for his country were free-kicks – the first away to San Marino in 2009 and the last against the Czech Republic at Windsor Park in September 2017.

He also scored the last of Northern Ireland’s goals in a 4-0 home World Cup qualifier win over Azerbaijan in Belfast in November 2016.