Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has retired from international football, according to Serbia's sporting director Vladimir Matijasevic.

Reports began to circulate on Thursday claiming Matic had opted to quit Serbia despite being named in their most recent squad.

Matijasevic, who works as a director for the Football Association of Serbia (FSS), confirmed the decision on Friday.

He claims Matic has brought his international career to a close to allow for younger players to have prominence in the senior side.

Matic, 32, played 48 times for Serbia since 2008 and represented them at the 2018 World Cup, but he will now give United his sole focus.

"When I came to the FSS, I talked to [Aleksandar] Mitrovic, [Luka] Milivojevic and Matic," Matijasevic is quoted as saying by Serbian publication Tanjug.

"Nemanja said then that he would return, but he had some decisions of his own that have nothing to do with us.

"We talked a few days ago, I called him on the phone, we also agreed to have coffee if our time and obligations allowed it.

"It was an extremely pleasant conversation. He is determined to put an end to his national team career.

"He did not state more specific reasons – he knows why this is the case and pointed out that it is time for younger players to take his place.

"I repeat, it was not persuasion, but only a conversation. I respect his opinion. He is 32 years old, he had a difficult season behind him, it is necessary to have understanding.

"The selector [Ljubisa Tumbakovic] also talked to him, about which you will surely hear more at the press conference on Monday. This is Nemanja's decision, we must respect that."

Matic's days at United looked numbered towards the start of the 2019-20 season as he showed significant signs of decline and the improvement of younger players such as Fred and Scott McTominay led to reduced playing time.

But the former Chelsea midfielder enjoyed a resurgence after the turn of the year, with 15 of his 18 Premier League starts last term coming in 2020.

He was then handed a new three-year contract in July, a reward for particularly fine form following the Premier League's return from the coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

Luka Jovic will return to the Serbia squad for their Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Norway in March after a "misunderstanding" was resolved, the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) announced on Monday.

The Real Madrid striker was released from international duty in September citing an injury, only to then feature for his club in LaLiga four days later.

Serbia head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic was reportedly irked, and Jovic has not played for his country since.

However, with a key clash against Norway coming up on March 26, FSS sporting director Vladimir Matijasevic and Tumbakovic have held meetings with Jovic to get one of their star men back on board.

"First FSS sporting director Matijasevic and then coach Tumbakovic have had a meeting with Serbian national team player Luka Jovic over the past few days, after which it is clear the Real Madrid striker is absolutely ready to be available in March matches," the FSS posted on its Twitter page.

"On both sides, everything that needed to be said was said, the misunderstanding was resolved and, most importantly, the conclusion was that everyone agreed that Serbia's interest was above all.

"Qualification for the European Championship was a common goal."

Jovic netted in a qualifying win against Lithuania in June but has scored only once in LaLiga since his €60million move from Eintracht Frankfurt to Madrid ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Nemanja Matic admits it is tough to pick a favourite for Euro 2020 but believes England have "their best team in the last 20 years" ahead of the tournament.

Next year's finals will see 24 nations involved, with the final four spots to be decided by play-offs in March.

Reigning champions Portugal will be aiming to defend their title, while France - beaten on home soil in the final in 2016 - are out to follow up their success at the World Cup last year.

Matic hopes to help Serbia to glory, though he will not be surprised if two of the leading contenders are left fighting it out for the trophy at Wembley Stadium on July 12.

As for England, who would have home advantage should they progress to the semi-finals and final, the Manchester United midfielder is impressed by the talent available to Gareth Southgate, who steered the Three Lions to the last four in Russia.

"It's hard to say who my favourite is [for Euro 2020]," Matic told Omnisport.

“My favourite is my country, but I think Germany are always dangerous. Croatia have a good team, they played in the final of the World Cup.

“Spain are an amazing team, France too. It's hard to say who the favourite is.

“With England, I think it's time to make something. We'll see if they're ready. I think England now has their best team in the last 20 years, maybe I'm not right, but that's my opinion.

Scotland have been drawn against Israel in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals.

Aiming to reach their first major finals in 22 years, Steve Clarke's side will face Israel in a one-legged tie at Hampden Park on March 26.

The winner of that match will go on to face either Norway or Serbia in the Path C final five days later.

Scotland beat Israel 3-2 at Hampden Park last November en route to topping their Nations League group and Clarke is after a repeat result in four months' time.

"The draw is what it is," he told Sky Sports News. "I never get too carried away about who you are going to play. 

"It would been nice to repeat the home win, but the match will come with its own level of pressure, which we will have to embrace.

"Being at home is very important for us. I'm sure Hampden will be full, with the Tartan Army on the march. It's a great stadium when it's full, so if we start fast we can get them all behind us."

Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland are on course to meet in the Path B final, having been drawn away to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovakia respectively in the semis.

In Path A, Romania travel to Iceland and Bulgaria host Hungary, while Belarus are at Georgia and North Macedonia face Kosovo in Path D.

The four play-off winners will join the 20 teams that have already qualified for the finals, which will take place in 12 different cities next year.

Serbia have been ordered to keep supporters out of their next UEFA fixture at home after "racist behaviour" from fans during a September match against Portugal.

UEFA announced the ban on home fans – which is for two matches, with one suspended for a probationary period of 12 months – on Monday.

Portugal beat Serbia 4-2 in Belgrade in a Euro 2020 qualifier in September that was marred by the behaviour of the home supporters.

UEFA charged the Football Association of Serbia with six offences, including racist behaviour, illicit chants, the setting off of fireworks and field invasions by supporters.

There were also two charges for a late kick-off.

A UEFA statement said the organisation's control, ethics and disciplinary body would "order the Football Association of Serbia to play their next two UEFA competition matches as host association behind closed doors, the second of which is suspended during a probationary period of one year, for the racist behaviour of its supporters".

UEFA added: "The Serbian FA is ordered to display a banner with the wording #EqualGame with the UEFA logo on it, in the next UEFA competition match which the association will play as the host".

The Serbian FA was also hit with a €33,250 fine, while Ljubisa Tumbakovic was warned about the late kick-off.

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