Gabbidon retires from Wales

West Ham defender Danny Gabbidon has announced his retirement from international football with Wales.

Gabbidon has not played for his country since last November due to injury but had been named in Brian Flynn's squad for the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland.

The 31-year-old, who won 43 caps, announced his decision through the Football Association of Wales this afternoon.

Gabbidon said: "After nine fantastic years of playing international football for Wales, during which I had the honour and privilege of captaining my country, and after long consideration, I have decided to retire from international duty.

"On a personal note, I would like to thank the Football Association of Wales for their support over the years and I would like to thank the people of Wales who supported me and my fellow team-mates at every game, home and away, giving their all to the cause - true supporters!

"I would also like to say a special thank you to my family, friends and management team, who have stood by me throughout the many good times and very few bad times.

"It has been a wonderful journey."

Gabbidon is the second Welsh player to quit international football this season following Fulham's Simon Davies.

No reason has been given but Gabbidon is in the final year of his contract at West Ham and spoke only last week of the importance of the current season.

Gabbidon has been plagued by injuries in recent years but, playing at left-back, has made an encouraging start to the campaign under new boss Avram Grant.

His absence for Friday's clash with Bulgaria in Cardiff and next Tuesday's trip to Switzerland is a further blow for caretaker boss Flynn.

Flynn has already lost striker Robert Earnshaw due to injury and is also without talisman and captain Craig Bellamy.

Bellamy was left out because of a knee problem but then surprisingly played - and scored - for Cardiff against Barnsley on Saturday.

Flynn called up untried Southampton youngster Ryan Doble to replace Earnshaw and will now have to reassess his defensive options.

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