Football Australia tonight acknowledged the international retirement of Nagoya Grampus goalkeeper, Mitch Langerak.
Langerak, who became the 566th player to represent Australia’s senior men’s national football team when he debuted for the Socceroos against France in October 2013, has called time on his international career due to his desire to remain with his young family throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in terms of football, but it is the right decision for me and my young family,” Langerak said. “I have looked at the international calendar up to next year’s World Cup and the likely time away from family, not only due to the camps themselves but periods afterwards in quarantine.”
After sitting down with my family and close circle, I have decided to put my family first because leaving my family alone in a foreign country (Japan) with no family support during a pandemic is not something that I am comfortable with.”
“I look back on my Socceroos career with fantastic memories, highlighted by the special moments that we created as a team. I enjoyed playing under Holger (Osieck), Ange (Postecoglou), and Graham (Arnold). [Former Socceroos goalkeeper coach] Tony Franken and I go a long way back – he is a fantastic coach and I will always be grateful to him for bringing me into the squad.
“It was fantastic to be part of the journey to the next World Cup with the team, and I wish the players, coaches, and staff the best as they tackle the remainder of the qualification process."
Langerak made eight (8) appearances for the Socceroos throughout his career with the national team. He was a member of Australia’s squad at the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014™, AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015™, a tournament the Socceroos won, FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017™, and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.
Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold said he, the Socceroos’ coaching staff, and Football Australia respected Langerak’s decision to step away from international football for personal reasons.
“Mitch has been in great form in Japan and was part of our plans, including for next month’s World Cup qualifiers in Kuwait,” Arnold said. “Mitch and I spoke at length earlier this week and while I am disappointed that we won’t be able to call on his services for the Socceroos moving forward, as a coach I will never be disappointed in a player doing what he believes is right for himself and his family.”
“Mitch will always be a welcome member of the Socceroos family and I am pleased that I had the opportunity to work with him over the past three years. As his record for his clubs and country suggests, he is a player of great quality, however he is a top-shelf person off the pitch, too, and we always enjoyed his contribution to the Socceroos’ culture.”
The Socceroos’ squad for next month’s FIFA World Cup qualifying hub in Kuwait City will be announced mid-next week. Australia will spend an important period training and acclimatising in the United Arab Emirates in late May, before traveling to Kuwait City where the team’s final FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China PR 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 (Group B) qualifiers will be played.
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