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I’m 37 but I’ll NEVER retire from England duty – Southgate chose me in 55-man World Cup squad and I thought it was joke

ASHLEY YOUNG insists he’ll never retire from England duty – even though he thought making their 55-man World Cup squad was a ‘joke’.

Aston Villa‘s versatile veteran, 37, says he can still play at the ‘highest level’ despite seemingly bowing out with the 2-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia in 2018.

Aston Villa wing-back Ashley Young claims he would be as hungry as ever if he won another England call-up
Young’s last taste of international action turned sour when Croatia beat England 2-1 in the 2018 world Cup semi-finals

And the 39-cap star is sticking to his word after confirming to Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate four years ago he would always be available.

Ex-Manchester United wing-back Young said: “After the tournament I said to Gareth, ‘I will never rule myself out playing. I know you will go with younger players and I totally agree.

“I am not retiring so if you ever need me, if you ever want to recall me, you can do, as long as I am playing well. It is down to you’.”

Young was a surprise inclusion in Southgate’s long-list of players for Qatar 2022 in recent weeks, although he was never a serious contender to make the final 26.

But he said: “To get in this 55 for Qatar shows you I must have been doing something right.

“I was joking with someone from the FA who messaged me about the squad. I was like ‘This has to be a joke, surely?’

“I will retire from international football when I retire from football. I can still play at the highest level.

“I always say to players, just never give up on your dream — I never gave up.”


Yet Young admits it still ‘kills’ him discussing Croatia’s comeback win in Russia four years ago.

He said: “I cannot watch it. We should have won it. We should have got to the final.

“Even now, it kills me trying to talk about it. I don’t like hearing about the game, either.

“I know how good an opportunity we had as a group. We were naive in the second half.”

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