Fulham manager Martin Jol admitted Damien Duff’s decision to quit international football is a weight off his mind.
The Fulham winger opted to retire from the Republic of Ireland side after gaining his 100th cap in this summer’s European Championships.
Duff, 33, has started the campaign on fire, with three goals in seven games – already more than last season’s total in the Premier League.
Fulham lost midfielder Mahamadou Diarra to injury while away on international duty last month, and Jol says Duff’s decision to retire is one less thing for him to worry about.
“Of course, there’s always a risk of an injury when you play these games,” said the Dutchman.
“I think he’s got to a hundred games and he decided to call it a day, so I won’t say I’m happy he did that but it’s certainly got a few advantages.”
However, he reckons Duff’s flying start to the season has nothing to do with missing out on international fixtures.
The Dubliner made a massive 56 appearances for club and country last year, but Jol insists he has no worries about his fitness.
He added: “I feel there’s no difference with Damien [whether he plays for Ireland or not].
“We played a lot of games in Europe and I could always play him. When you get a bit older you normally give them a rest but I needed them all the time.”
Jol will be hoping for a clean bill health when his players return from international duty next week ahead of the home clash with Aston Villa.