John Arne Riise announces international retirement

The Norway and Fulham defender is his country's all-time leader in appearances having made his debut more than 13 years ago but will now turn his focus to club football
Norway defender John Arne Riise has announced his retirement from international football after more than 13 years' service for the national team.

The Fulham left-back, who made his debut in January 2000 against Iceland, has earned 110 caps for his country, scoring 16 goals.

Riise is the Drillos' most-capped player of all time, but has decided to hang up his international boots in a bid to extend his playing career at club level.

"After a lot of thought I've decided not to continue with international football," he said in a Norwegian FA statement on Monday.

"I am going into the final stage of my career and I'm at an age where I have to take a clear decision if I want to achieve my final goal, to play another four or five years in Europe."

Legendary Norwegian manager and current national team coach Egil Olsen paid tribute to Riise's professionalism following his decision to end his international involvement.

"John Arne has shown great enthusiasm and was always the first man at training and player meetings. I respect his decision and wish to thank him for his contribution," Olsen said.