It was wasn’t to be for Steven Defour.
The Burnley midfielder had outside hopes of being ready for Belgium’s World Cup squad, and therefore giving manager Roberto Martinez another decision to make, but he wasn’t able to rush back from his knee injury quickly enough.
Het Belang van Limburg report the 30 year old doesn’t see himself being able to make the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, so ‘prepares his farewell’ as an international.
The Belgian newspaper say Defour wants to ‘focus on his club’ and feels he can use what would have been future international breaks to rest and make sure he’s fit enough for Burnley.
It’s explained that despite the injury, Burnley have looked to activate a two year extension on the player’s contract, and the midfielder ‘greatly appreciates’ this gesture. There’s no talk now of a possible exit this summer.
Defour wanted to announce his retirement after Belgium’s squad had been revealed, but with all the fuss over Radja Nainggolan being overlooked, and his subsequent retirement, it was thought better to wait.
HBVL point out that Defour started his professional career aged 16 and has worked through several injuries, so the extra rest should help prolong his career.