Hearts star Liam Boyce explains Northern Ireland break decision
Hearts star Liam Boyce has revealed family reasons are behind his decision to miss the last two international breaks with Northern Ireland.
The 30-year-old asked not to be considered by Ian Baraclough for the World Cup qualifiers in September and this month.
Boyce, who has 28 caps for Northern Ireland, has not ruled out returning to the international fold but his current position is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
“I've got a few things going on with family,” he told the Evening News.
"My son’s only five months and my daughter’s just started school about a month ago. Living in Edinburgh with no family nearby, leaving my missus on her own with two kids, a dog and no help, I took the decision it was better for me to stay at home.
“When you go away for ten days it is tough for my missus. I didn't want to leave her in a tough situation.”
He added: “Never say never but at this current time with everything going on I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”
The physical and mental toll on international players can be easily forgotten. Required to jet around Europe and further afield, they can be away from family for days and weeks.
For Boyce on the field the break from international football has had its benefits, the player sitting on ten goals after 13 matches.
"A lot of the travelling, even in the summer, does have an impact, your season carries on,” he said.
“Last summer I think I had two days where I wasn't training. I came back from Northern Ireland then had two days where I didn’t do anything then I had to start running and getting ready for pre-season again.
"I’m 30 now, you get to that age and you’re going away and I wasn't really playing a lot for Northern Ireland. You do all that travelling, you’re not playing and you come back feeling stiff from all the travelling then you have one day training before your game on Saturday. It does have an impact.
"That and my family reasons that’s the decision behind and it has worked well. I’ve missed two international breaks and started the season. I want to keep that going.”