No retirement plans for Hughes

Former captain Hughes called time on his international career at the end of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign at the age of 31, only to be talked out of it by incoming manager Michael O'Neill.

A troublesome thigh injury has kept the Fulham defender out of his side's last four World Cup qualifiers but he is back in the squad for Friday's friendly in Turkey.

That alone is a good sign that he remains committed to the cause and he reiterated that will remain the case unless circumstances change dramatically between now and the start of the next campaign.

"I haven't thought about retirement," he said.

"The last time I thought long and hard about it and it felt right at the time.

"I then spoke to Michael and I liked a lot of things he was saying. I also really missed it and any time there was a game I thought a lot about being around the squad.

"At the time I wasn't in the Fulham team so I decided to come back but there is no rush for me to make any decisions now.

"I have had informal chats with Michael but there has been no massive heart-to-heart."

Hughes will win his 88th cap in Adana, putting him tantalisingly close to a century of appearances for his country.

No outfield player has ever done that for Northern Ireland, with goalkeeper Pat Jennings the only man to reach that landmark.

"I guess because I am on 87 caps I do think a bit about getting to the 100 milestone," he said.

"Sometimes I let myself think about it, then there are other times when I know it is not the time to let my mind wander.

"Everything will depend on injuries and if I am playing for my club.

"I have got to be playing and getting minutes on the pitch if I am going to make it to 100 but of course it would be extremely special.

"At the minute I am just looking to play whenever possible and not looking too far ahead.

"The big goal is to try to qualify for the Euros but like I said, injuries and not playing would probably be factors."

Source: PA

Source: PA

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