Aston Villa flop delivers blow to Australia’s World Cup hopes

Brett Holman, who struggled during a brief stint with Aston Villa in the Premier League, has retired from international football with immediate effect.

Australia’s hopes of causing a shock at this summer’s World Cup have been dealt a blow by the news that striker Brett Holman has decided to retire from international football with immediate effect.

The 30-year-old currently plies his trade in the Middle East with club side Al Nasr, a team he moved to following an unsuccessful spell in the Premier League with Aston Villa.

Holman was seen as something of a bargain when the Clarets first picked him up on a free transfer back in the summer of 2012, with the Australian previously enjoying success in Holland with AZ Alkmaar, where he managed a commendable 16 goals in 92 games.

However that seemingly counted for little at Villa, with the 30-year-old used sparingly during his time at the club, often as a substitute.

All told he managed just one goal in 27 appearances for the Midlands giants, but remained a constant presence in the Socceroos national side.

That changed under new manager Ange Postecoglou, however, with the newly-installed coach turning to alternatives in recent months, forcing Holman into a secondary role within the squad.

And with the national team boss set to announce a preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil in a matter of weeks, Holman has opted to step aside.

Speaking in a statement made through Inspire Sports Management, the player said:

“It has been a great honour and privilege to play for Australia, and to represent one’s country is every footballer’s dream. I am proud of my achievements and I take with me many happy memories of my time with the national team,”

“Over the past six months, circumstances have led me to re-think my international career and I have made the difficult decision to step aside from my role with the Socceroos.”

The player added that he now wished to focus on his family and club football with Al Nasr, where he has scored three goals in 23 appearances.

Holman is regarded as something of a soccer hero in his homeland, having scored twice for Australia at the last World Cup in South Africa.

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