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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Everton v Newcastle

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Steven Pienaar has announced his retirement from international football.

The Everton midfielder has informed the South African Football Association that he no longer wishes to be considered for selection by the national team.

"After having given more than ten years' service to the national team, I am now at a stage where physically I am struggling to balance the demands of playing in England with the number of games required by South Africa," he said.

Pienaar, who turned 30 in March of this year, re-joined Everton from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer. He has over 50 caps for South Africa, some as captain of the team.

"I am proud to have represented and captained my country," he said. "There is a lot of very good young talent coming through and perhaps it is time for them to be given an opportunity. I wish the coaching staff and the players all the very best for the future."

Blues manager David Moyes said: "We had no input into Steven Pienaar's decision to retire from international football.

"I have never discouraged any player from playing for his national team, in fact I encourage it. Steven has made his own decision and we support him in whatever he chooses to do."


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