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By ESPN Staff

"Embarrassed" Jens Lehmann rules out early retirement

Stuttgart goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has admitted his behaviour over the last ten days has been "embarrassing'', but ruled out taking early retirement.

Lehmann has stolen the headlines after first criticising his own club for sacking their coach Markus Babbel and then earning a red card and giving away an unnecessary penalty in a 1-1 draw with Mainz. He subsequently fled from the stadium and confronted a fan as he searched for a taxi.

"I am responsible for my actions and, without a doubt, what happened last weekend was not good and, if I could, I would take it all back,'' he told Sat.1 television.

Lehmann was angry after his red card against Mainz and he stormed out of the Bruchweg Stadion, where he bumped into a supporter who told him to behave in a more sensible manner.

Lehmann tore the glasses from the supporter's face and walked away, only giving them back as the fan begged for their return. The former Germany number one subsequently found a taxi and made his own way home rather than travelling with his team-mates on the club coach.

"I am not prepared for situations like this and this kind of thing shouldn't happen, but it has done,'' he said. "It is embarrassing, it makes me uncomfortable and I would rather have vanished without being recognised. I just did not know what to do in the heat of the moment and how I could shut him (the fan) up otherwise.''

Nevertheless, Lehmann does not believe he has "overstepped the mark'' at all, which is why retiring is not a consideration.

"I have never injured or beaten anybody up to this day,'' he said. "Yes, I have received certain headlines for things which are not good, but that does not include any really bad things. Only then would I have a problem with myself and would I have to ask myself questions.

"If my children started getting problems because of me, then I would really have to think whether I am doing things right.''

Even if he does everything right between now and June, Lehmann no longer expects to break back into the Germany national team, despite being interested in revoking his retirement.

"Anything is possible in football, but the national team is a long way off at the moment,'' he added.

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