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By ESPN Staff

Levein confirms Ferguson retirement

Barry Ferguson will not play for Scotland again, national team coach Craig Levein has confirmed.

The Birmingham midfielder, 32, was banished from the national team during George Burley's tenure for his role in the infamous "Boozegate" affair.

Levein had hoped the former Rangers skipper would return under the new regime after he replaced Burley at the helm. But Ferguson has informed the Scotland boss he wants to focus on club football instead.

Levein had hoped Ferguson would be back in the squad for the forthcoming Euro 2010 qualifiers. He held talks with Ferguson on Monday night, where he was informed of the player's intention to retire from international football.

Levein said: "I am naturally disappointed not to call on Barry's abilities and experience for the Euro 2012 qualification campaign, but I understand his reasons. The arrangement was that Barry would have the summer to decide.

"Birmingham returned to pre-season training yesterday and when we spoke last night, he said that both family commitments and his commitment to Birmingham City were the priorities in his life at the moment.

"I wish him the best of luck and we now move on with our preparations for the qualification campaign, starting with the friendly against Sweden next month."

Scotland and Rangers forward Naismith said Ferguson would be a "massive loss" to the national team. "We felt it at Rangers when he left here," he said.

"It was a massive loss for us and it will be the same again for Scotland, especially on the international stage where you need players who have got a lot of experience.

"Fergie was the one who probably had the most experience out of the whole squad so it will be a big loss.

"But you just have to look at players in the past, guys like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, who have prolonged their careers by stopping playing international football. So I can understand totally why Barry has done it.''

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