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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Cameroon's Alex Song announces international retirement

Might Alex Song be Man United's next midfield man?
Alex Song says he will no longer play for Cameroon.

Cameroon midfielder Alex Song has announced his international retirement.

West Ham's Song, 27, was left out of the Cameroon squad for this month's African Nations Cup, but reports this week suggested he may still be called up to the team.

The Hammers feared they would lose Song for the rest of the month after he flew back to his homeland to discuss his international future with the Cameroon Football Federation and the possibility of appearing in the continental cup competition

But Song ended the suspense on Tuesday when he posted the news of his international retirement on Instagram minutes after West Ham settled for a 1-1 draw with Everton, a game which Song sat out.

"Since the World Cup in the summer and my subsequent exclusion from the Cameroon squad for the African Cup of Nations I have taken the decision to retire from International football," wrote Song, who will now be available for West Ham for upcoming games against Swansea, Hull and Liverpool.

"It is true that there were some discussions of late to include me in the squad for this tournament but I feel after a lot of careful thought and numerous discussions with my family this is the right decision.

"My love for my country will never change but I want to take time to focus purely on domestic football and start to rebuild my career at West Ham United.

"I wish Cameroon all the best and the team will always be in my heart.

Song made his Cameroon debut against Morocco in November 2005 and has won 49 caps for his country. He appeared in two games with Cameroon at last summer's World Cup in Brazil, starting in defeats to Mexico and Croatia.

His last appearance finished in ignominious fashion though, shown a straight red card in a 4-0 World Cup defeat for striking Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic in the back with his elbow in an off-the-ball incident before half-time. Song was handed a three-match ban for that incident, ruling him out of Cameroon's final group match against Brazil, and he has not played for his country since. 

Song joined West Ham on a season-long loan from Barcelona last August, having struggled to hold down a first-team berth at the Spanish giants following his 15 million-pound move from Arsenal in 2012. The 27-year-old has played a major role in the Hammers' impressive form this season and manager Sam Allardyce recently spoke about his hopes of being able to tie the midfielder down to a long-term deal.

West Ham have slipped to seventh in the Premier League standings after winning just one of their last five games, but are still only five points behind third-placed Manchester United.

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