Hearts striker Liam Boyce reveals why he won't play international football again

Hearts striker Liam Boyce reveals why he won’t play international football again

The 31-year-old, capped 28 times by his country, has not played since going into self-imposed exile eight months ago and admits it is now unlikely he will ever don the green jersey again.

The experienced leader has impressed for the Jambos this season, but feels he needs to be with his family instead of traveling every other month on international duty.

He is putting his wife Leoncha and son Scout (5) and daughter Ziggy (1) before international football, which often involves ten days away from home.

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Liam Boyce celebrates his equalizing goal just before half-time at Tannadice as Hearts fought back to beat Dundee United 3-2

Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough confirmed there have been no problems and Boyce revealed the national team boss has been very understanding.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: “I don’t know. In football you can never say never. It’s been a tough year off the pitch. My son was born and my daughter started school and all the time away and being in hotels for 10 days with everything going on at home, it was something she couldn’t do. She couldn’t have been away.

“I want to support Leoncha. She has done everything for me to do what I have done in football all my life and I thought I had to be there for her and leave international football for a while.

“I understand that people want me to play, but with my daughter growing up, I didn’t want to lose her going to school and with my son coming and then other things that happen with my family, that’s how it has been. be be.

“Barça has been unreal. He has kept in touch with me and I have told him the reasons for my decision. He has been very understanding and told me about always putting your family first. He has been so good.

“It has been a privilege to be able to play for Northern Ireland and be involved with good teams and get to know all these good players. I’m proud of that and I know how much playing for Northern Ireland has helped me. Also, with international football, you can experience and go to places you would never be. Is incredible.”

Boyce was prolific in front of goal early in the season and, after a recent drought, scored his 16th goal of the campaign against Dundee United on Sunday. He has a long shot at becoming the first Hearts player since John Robertson 30 years ago to score 20 goals in a season.

But Boyce admitted: “I probably should have done it by now because I missed some chances and a penalty. For me though, it’s about the team winning rather than me scoring goals. I wouldn’t score again if we won every game I played for the rest of my career.

He added, “He’s brilliant in Hearts. I always want to play where you are loved and appreciated because it makes you work even harder. It’s good to be in a good place where people want you to play and support you. That is one of the best things that can happen in football when you know that the fans support you”.

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