Ashes 2013-14: England team director Andy Flower admits his regret over the retirement of spinner Graeme Swann

Flower praises 'outstanding' Swann but admits he had hoped the 34-year-old would see out the remainder of the tour

Andy Flower would have liked Graeme Swann to have seen out England's unsuccessful Ashes tour before retiring.

Swann's decision to quit after the tourists' third successive defeat in Perth - with two Tests still to play - divided opinion.

The Ashes were gone, and 34-year-old Swann explained at the time that he felt he could no longer bowl to anywhere near the standards England required of him.

Swann revealed he had discussed his decision with Flower and captain Alastair Cook before going public with the news, and the England team director said on Monday: "Graeme Swann has done an outstanding job for England over the last six or so years.

"I think he's the seventh highest Test wicket-taker in English history.

"To do that over 60 Test matches is a great effort, and he's been a huge part of our success over the last few years.

"I've been very proud to have had him in the side, and I know he can retire very proudly.

"In saying that, I would have liked him to have seen the tour out."

Three operations on his bowling elbow had taken their toll, and Swann concluded it was in his and England's best interests for him to bow out mid-series.

England lost the fourth Test in Melbourne and will now head to Sydney for the final Test hoping to avoid a series whitewash.

PA

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