Victor Anichebe puts Everton before Nigeria as international career stays on hold
Everton striker Victor Anichebe says "the time is not right" to return to international football with Nigeria.
Last Updated: 01/05/13 1:23pm
The Everton striker last played for his country in September 2011, when a groin injury suffered against Madagascar kept him out for four months.
Anichebe felt his club offered greater support than the Nigerian Football Federation during his time in the treatment room and has resisted recent overtures from manager Stephen Keshi to resume his international career.
Nigeria's loss has been Everton's gain, and the 25-year-old has established himself as Goodison Park's No.1 striker in recent months following Nikica Jelavic's dip in form.
Anichebe told the club website: "I have always been proud to represent my country but it is becoming more and more evident that with the injuries I have had over the last two years or so, I have to manage my body accordingly.
"That's why I feel the best thing for me at the moment is to concentrate on club football.
"Without club football there is no international football and everyone at Everton was with me every step of the way during my injuries and rehabilitation and so I owe it to the club to manage myself correctly.
"I didn't feel that the Nigerian Football Federation was there for me the in the same manner, which was especially disappointing given that I got the injury representing my country.
"But I don't blame anyone for this nor do I have any issues with anybody from the NFF or Stephen Keshi our coach."
Nigeria won this year's Africa Cup of Nations without Anichebe, who said: "If I had gone, would I be playing for my club at the level I am now? Perhaps not, so it worked out well for both sides.
"The time is just not right for me to resume my international career as of yet but I would certainly love to represent my country in the none too distant future."