SAFC 10 YEARS AGO: Varga quits international football
Varga calls halt to cap career to help Sunderland
STAN Varga has quit international football.
The Sunderland and Slovakia centre-back says the demands of playing for club and country have become too taxing.
Slovakia take on Ireland in Dublin tonight, but Varga’s focus is on Wearside.
He is making his way back from a hip injury that he believed can be blamed on his last international trip back in October – when he played in a victory over Wales and loss to Germany and Wales – and is hopeful of playing a part in the remainder of Sunderland’s promotion campaign.
“I played a lot of games in a row when I came to Sunderland and I was happy with that, but I can’t remember the last time I managed a full week of training,” said the 34-year-old defender.
“I don’t think I should have gone away with Slovakia when I last played for them because of travelling.
“I went from England to Slovakia to join the squad, then from Slovakia to Wales for the first game and back to Slovakia to play against Germany.
“I got back to Sunderland on the Thursday, and we drove to Preston the following day.
“It is not the games that were the problem, it was the travelling and as a big guy it is not good to be stuck on a plane or on the coach for a long time.”
Varga continued playing but was troubled by his hip for a number of weeks and has started only one game in 2007.
It’s a muscle problem, but I don’t know exactly – “I’m not a doctor!” said the former Celtic stopper.
“I could not train with it any more; it was too bad and I decided to do something with it.
“I have had two injections and it seems to have settled down.
“I trained this week and I felt fine.
“I have not been in the Slovakia squad and the manager might have already decided he doesn’t want me.
“But if he did ask, I would tell him politely that it is too much for me.
“I will be 35 later this year and I want to keep playing for as long as I can.
“I need to listen to what my body has told me. If I continue with international football and get injured again, then I don’t get to play for my club or my country.
“This way I can try to make sure I am fir for my club.
“I have one more year on my contract here and I want it to go well.”
EDWARDS RULED OUT
CARLOS Edwards will not be risked for this weekend’s game against Cardiff City, Sunderland boss Roy Keane revealed today.
The manager said that the former Luton star continues to make excellent progress in his recovery from a shoulder injury sustained in the game against West Bromwich Albion last month.
But this Saturday’s game comes a little too soon for the winger.
Keane told the Echo: “We’ve been delighted with the way that Carlos has come on but we are not going to take any chances with him.
“Originally we were looking at the game after the Cardiff game as the date of his earliest possible return. And despite his recovery going so well, we are going to stick with that.”
One player who is close to a return, though, is Irish striker Stephen Elliott.
Keane said: “Of the other two injured lads, Graham Kavanagh is doing well but in light of him breaking down with injury when he came back too early last time, we are just taking things slowly.
“Stephen Elliott however has made great progress recently and is back in training now.
“We are having a practice match today and he will be one of the players who is involved.
“It’s great to have him back on the training pitch because there is no doubt he can score goals,
“At a push, it’s possible he could come into contention for the weekend but we don’t want to push things and we do have other players in the squad at the moment who can also get us goals.”
As far as the rest of the squad is concerned, the manager has a clean bill of health, with the exception of Nyron Nosworthy.
Keane said: “Nyron is going to rest up for a couple of days after picking up an injury in training.
“He got studs down the back of his ankle in a challenge which has taken the skin off and that sort of injury can be pretty sure.
“Hopefully he should be okay for the weekend but for the moment it looks like being a case where we give it a chance to heal.
“I expect him to be available and I hope so because he’s been a very important player for us recently.
“But if it turns out that he doesn’t make it, we do have very experienced players like Stan Varga and Kenny Cunningham who are waiting in the wings.”