Sheffield United forward David McGoldrick says retiring from international duty was the “hardest decision I’ve made”.
McGoldrick hung up his boots for the Republic of Ireland last month, finishing with 14 caps and one goal.
Having just turned 33-years-old, he wanted to ensure he could continue playing consistently in the Premier League for the Blades.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve made in football,” McGoldrick told The Irish Times.
“I had sleepless nights when I had to tell the manager – it was really tough.
“It was a bit of an ordeal for me to come out and say ‘I’m officially retiring’, because I didn’t think I had that right.
“It wasn’t until I was 32 that I played Premier League football. Even though I was signed by a Premier League club when I was 16. It took all these years to come.
“This is where every player wants to be, you’ll hear every player say it. I’m no different. I want to stay here as long as I can.”
David McGoldrick could be key for Sheffield United
It took until after lockdown last season for McGoldrick to score his first goal in the Premier League.
When it came the Irishman hit the back of the net twice in a 3-0 victory against Chelsea.
Yet United fans knew not to judge McGoldrick on his goals tally. He offered so much more to the team last season in a linkup role between midfield and attack.
This term McGoldrick is actually the club’s top scorer, with three strikes in all competitions so far.
But the attacker has been less influential in a Blades side who have suffered a serious downturn in form.
After a ninth place finish last term, they are now bottom of the table with one point and nine defeats from 10 league games.
Manager Chris Wilder has chopped and changed with his front two, with a lack of impetus in the box arguably their biggest problem in 2020/21.
United are the joint lowest scorers in the division with just four goals.
Up until the 1-0 loss at West Bromwich Albion last weekend, McGoldrick had played a part in every game.
He is never going to be United’s main source of goals. The fact he currently is suggests there’s an issue.
But his experience and unique ability in the squad means he will be crucial if they are to stay up.
And McGoldrick’s selfless act to retire to help try and achieve that is a testament to his character.