Jess Fishlock: Wales star considers future after missing out on Euro 2017

By Michael PearlmanBBC Wales Sport
Jess Fishlock
Jess Fishlock made her Wales debut in 2006 when she was coming through the ranks at Cardiff City

Wales women's Jess Fishlock says she is considering retiring from international football after their failure to qualify for Euro 2017.

The midfielder, 29, has won 87 caps for Wales but is unsure whether to continue into the 2019 World Cup qualifiers.

"I am considering my future, I think it is something I am going to have to sit down and think about quite strongly," she told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"I have to sit down and decide whether to listen to my head or to my heart."

Major dilemma

The Seattle Reign midfielder, who has scored 28 goals for her country, will again miss out on a major finals in 2017 as Wales' 2-0 defeat to Norway has ended their European Championship qualification hopes.

However, Fishlock admits it will be a huge wrench to quit international football, even though she does believe it would prolong her career.

"I turn 30 in January and we are going to have a year before qualification for the World Cup even starts," she explained.

"If I commit to it I want to commit to the whole campaign, which is another two-years on top, by then I will be 33 and that's quite old.

"The reality is, as I get older, my legs start to go. That's the way it is. The travelling is a factor as well. It takes its toll at times and that's the thing I really have to think about and manage.

"If I stop Wales and the travelling, does that prolong my club career, with less travelling? I believe it will.

"But I also know that for as long as I am playing for my club, I am going to want to play for my country, that's what is in my heart."

Respect for Ludlow

Jayne Ludlow
Jess Fishlock has heaped praise on Wales manager Jayne Ludlow

The former Melbourne Victory star, who has had spells playing in the Netherlands and Germany, feels Wales have the right leadership under manager Jayne Ludlow.

"The direction we are heading under Jayne, there is a big part of me that wants to be a part of things, whatever I can do," she said.

"Even if that means I'm an impact player, not a starter, I think I would be OK with that.

"I will want to commit 100% if I decide to carry on playing for Wales and that is another three years of big commitments.

"The more I think about it, the more I think I do want another campaign under Jayne."

Comparisons to Craig Bellamy

Craig Bellamy
Craig Bellamy quit Wales after their unsuccessful 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign

Fishlock will continue playing for the remainder of this campaign and insists she would not have a problem with being in a similar situation to Wales striker Craig Bellamy.

The former Newcastle striker called time on a 15-year international career only to see Wales reach a major finals just a few years after his retirement.

"If Wales qualified for a tournament and I was not there, I think I would be ok with it," said Fishlock.

"Comparing myself to Craig Bellamy, when you call it quits - and it is such a big decision, it is because you know that it is the right thing to do.

"And when you do it, you are very supportive of the group, you don't think about yourself.

"When I come down to making the decision, it will very much be about 'will I be ok, with not playing for Wales'?"

A tough decision

Fishlock insists she will never pick and choose her the matches she plays for Wales, which complicates her decisions on her future.

"I have to make the tough decisions, because I can't and won't half-commit to the campaign." she said.

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"I won't ever be someone who says 'Just call me in when we have home fixtures against the best teams, but I am not coming to Kazakhstan to play over there.'

"That's not who I am. If I am in it, I am in it for the qualifiers, the friendlies, the training and the travelling.

"It is a lot, takes a toll on my body and doing it for another three years is a big ask but equally, I don't know if I am ok with not playing for Wales anymore. It is something I need to figure out."