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Physical toll forces Norwich City midfielder Alex Tettey to retire from international duty with Norway

PUBLISHED: 15:12 03 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:19 03 March 2017

Norwich City midfielder Alex Tettey, right, tackles England's Ashley Young during a Norway game in 2012. Picture: Action Images / Lee Smith

Norwich City midfielder Alex Tettey, right, tackles England's Ashley Young during a Norway game in 2012. Picture: Action Images / Lee Smith

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Alex Tettey has retired from international football after admitting he is struggling with the physical strain of playing for both Norwich City and Norway.

The combative 30-year-old central midfielder has scored three goals in 34 games for his adopted nation, having moved to Scandanavia from Ghana with his family as a child.

His last appearance for Norway came in a 2-1 defeat in Czech Republic in World Cup 2018 qualifying. He has made 29 appearances for the Canaries this season but has struggled with games in close succession at times in recent seasons due to knee problems.

“I’d like to continue on the national team and this is not about a lack of motivation, but my body can not withstand the load of games for both club and national team,” Tettey told the Football Association of Norway’s (FAN) official website.

“I play two or three games a week for the club team, and unfortunately the strain becomes too great when I additionally play friendlies.

“I wanted to play for Norway, and therefore said yes to a new qualifying campaign but realise that it is no longer justifiable.”

The former Rosenborg and Rennes midfielder is in the fifth season with Norwich and remains a popular player with fans for his enthusiastic personality.

He admits he will miss his involvement on the international stage, with Norway missing out on a place at Euro 2016 in France after a 3-1 aggregate defeat to Hungary in the qualification play-offs last season.

“I’m going to miss the national team, and team-mates,” Tettey continued. “Although we did not qualify for the European Championship I have fond memories of the last qualifying when I scored three goals and we fought for group victory.

“It will be exciting to follow the young and promising international players, and Norway has a very experienced trainer who can demonstrate very strong results. I wish the players and back-room luck.”

The midfielder has made 142 appearances for City since signing on a free transfer from French club Rennes in 2012, playing a key part in three Premier League campaigns.

Nils Johan Semb, FAN’s chief of elite football, added: “Alexander is one of our most experienced players, which we would like to have further. But he has struggled with injuries and we understand that the strain is too great.

“The Championship season consists of 46 games and it has long been a challenge for Alexander to combine club and international games. We thank him for the solid effort he has shown in the national team.”

The news comes as a blow to manager Lars Lagerbäck though, who said: “I understand that Tettey can not continue on the national team when the body can not withstand the total load.

“It’s a pity, but we have to deal with it. This means that other players get the chance.”

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