Soccer-Langerak quits Socceroos to spend time with family amid COVID-19 crisis


FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Australia v Brazil - International Friendly - Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia - 13/06/17 - Australia's Mitch Langerak in action. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

(Reuters) - Australia goalkeeper Mitch Langerak has ended his international career over travel concerns during the COVID-19 crisis, the 32-year-old announced on Thursday.

Former Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart keeper Langerak, who currently plays for Nagoya Grampus in Japan's top flight J-League, said that he preferred to stay with his family for the duration of the pandemic.

"This has been one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in terms of football, but it's the right decision for me and my young family," Langerak said in a statement.

"I've 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've 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'm comfortable with."

Langerak made eight appearances for the Socceroos and was part of the squad at the World Cup in 2014 and the triumphant Asian Cup squad in 2015.

He was expected to play a role in the team's four World Cup qualifiers in Kuwait next month.

"Mitch has been in great form in Japan and was part of our plans," Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold said.

"Mitch and I spoke at length earlier this week and while I'm disappointed we won't be able to call on his services for the Socceroos, as a coach I'll never be disappointed in a player doing what he believes is right for himself and his family."

Australia's squad for the World Cup qualifiers will be announced next week.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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