Hearts striker Liam Boyce has opened up on his decision to walk away from international football for the time being, admitting the strain on his family makes going away for two weeks at a time with Northern Ireland is too much.

The Hearts star has 28 caps for his country but asked international boss Ian Baraclough not to consider him for a place in the squad for the last two sets of internationals.

Hearts of Midlothian v Hibernian - Scottish Cup: First Semi-Final

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Boyce insists he’s not retiring from internationals permanently but admits the impact of travelling and not always playing was affecting his form club level.

“I’ve got a few things going on with family,” he said, talking to the Evening News.

“My son’s only five months and my daughter’s just started school about a month ago. Living in Edinburgh with no family nearby, leaving my missus on her own with two kids, a dog and no help, I took the decision it was better for me to stay at home.

“When you go away for ten days it is tough for my missus. I didn’t want to leave her in a tough situation.”

The Northern Irishman admits that it has already had an impact, saying his decision has “worked well” so far for him after a strong start to the season for the Tynecastle side.

“A lot of the travelling, even in the summer, does have an impact, your season carries on,” he added.

“Last summer I think I had two days where I wasn’t training. I came back from Northern Ireland then had two days where I didn’t do anything then I had to start running and getting ready for pre-season again.

“I’m 30 now, you get to that age and you’re going away and I wasn’t really playing a lot for Northern Ireland. You do all that travelling, you’re not playing and you come back feeling stiff from all the travelling then you have one day training before your game on Saturday. It does have an impact.

“That and my family reasons that’s the decision behind and it has worked well. I’ve missed two international breaks and started the season well. I want to keep that going.”

NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.

Have something to tell us about this article?