Carlos Edwards has put his international career on hold to channel all his energies into playing for Ipswich Town.
Flying winger Edwards has decided not to play for Trinidad & Tobago for the rest of the campaign. Instead, he will be concentrating on helping to propel Town up the Championship table over the next few months.
The 31-year-old is homing in on 100 caps for Trinidad & Tobago - he is currently on 78 - but he will be putting club before country, rather than pushing on towards that century landmark.
“I won't be playing for my country again for the rest of the season. I eliminated myself from selection after the last World Cup qualifier,” revealed Edwards yesterday.
“I made this decision because I want to concentrate on my club football and help to get Ipswich up the table.
“It can be difficult to choose between club and country, and for the last couple of games for Ipswich I haven't been at my best.
“The travelling has really got to me recently. I've been really exhausted, so it's good to have a break and recharge my batteries.
“The last few days have given me this chance, to spend some time with my family. The travelling of the last few months had taken it out of me, though I'm not using that as an excuse,” added Edwards.
While Town have struggled in the Championship, as yet mustering just one win in 16 games, Edwards has relished his recent exploits with Trinidad.
Even though his country exited the World Cup at the qualifying stage, having reached the finals for the first time in Germany in 2006, Edwards enjoyed the extra responsibility of captaining his country.
“I've been captain for the last couple of games, though I don't know whether that's going to be a long-term thing,” continued Edwards.
“I've enjoyed the responsibility. It was the first time I had been the captain of a team. I suppose they saw me as the 31-year-old with nearly 80 caps under my belt, so I should be made skipper.
“To be honest, I'm just happy to be playing. They respect that, and I respect them.
“I haven't really thought about reaching 100 caps. The other lads have said that I have to go for it, having already got nearly 80, but time will tell.”
Port of Spain-born Edwards, whose career in the English Football League began with a five-year stay at Wrexham from 2000, enjoyed fruitful spells at Luton Town and Sunderland (£1.4m purchase) before his switch to Ipswich in a £1.35m package at the end of August.
Despite his regular excursions away with the Trinidad & Tobago squad, during their World Cup qualifying campaign, he has only missed one of Town's last 11 games. He sat out the 1-1 home draw against Swansea, after only landing back in this country a couple of days earlier.
Town claimed their first league win of the season with a 1-0 success over Derby County at the end of last month, and followed this up with a 1-1 draw at Reading last weekend to finally clamber off the basement.
“I think we had turned the corner long before we got our first win,” insisted Edwards.
“It's nice to be off the bottom, and it will feel even better when we are out of the bottom three and pushing into mid-table,” concluded Edwards, who is also one of 50 ambassadors for England's 2018 World Cup bid.
Town have no game this weekend, due to the break for internationals. Edwards will be resting up before resuming training next week, ahead of the televised home match against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, November 21.
Carlos amazed by Town support.
Carlos Edwards is the latest to praise the Blue Army after admitting he has been surprised by the level of support Town have enjoyed despite the disappointing start to the season.
Blues' boss Roy Keane has expressed his thanks to the fans for their backing through the first few months of the campaign and the Trinidad international also has nothing but admiration for the Town following.
"The support we had at Reading was amazing, as it has been in all the games I have been involved with here," Carlos, who joined Town from Sunderland in August, tells the Club website.
"It opened my eyes to see how much they are behind us and as players, we have to take on board their commitment and sacrifices they make in travelling up and down the country to see us play.
"We have an obligation to entertain them and give them something to smile about and hopefully we can do that over the rest of the season."