Kuqi quits international game

SHEFKI Kuqi has quit international football and aims to be the Blues' No. 1 striker, writes Derek Davis.The Kosovan-born, Finland striker, with almost 50 caps to his name, scored both goals in Town's win at Rotherham, but revealed he will not be going on World Cup duty with his adopted country so long as Anti Muurinen is in charge.

SHEFKI Kuqi has quit international football and aims to be the Blues' No. 1 striker, writes Derek Davis.

The Kosovan-born, Finland striker, with almost 50 caps to his name, scored both goals in Town's win at Rotherham, but revealed he will not be going on World Cup duty with his adopted country so long as Anti Muurinen is in charge.

A dipping volley two minutes before half-time got him off the mark for the season before England Under-21 international Bent set up his second with a tap-in.

Bent will join Peter Taylor's England Under-21 squad for their European Championship games in Poland and Austria this week, but Kuqi has snubbed Finland's World Cup qualifiers.


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He said: "I have decided not to go. I have played for them a long time but it is not worth me travelling to sit on the bench and I will not play for Finland again while the current coach is in charge."

The Finnish coach would have been impressed with Kuqi's finish for the first goal, which maintains his record of always scoring at Millmoor.

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A free signing from Sheffield Wednesday almost a year ago, Kuqi was booed throughout by Rother-ham fans who have a deep-rooted dislike for Wednesday. Strangely enough, they seemed to have forgotten Jim Magilton also played for the Hillsborough club and he was not jeered at all.

For Kuqi, the two goals were the perfect way to silence his detractors.

He said: "They don't bother me at all, I understand it. I'm ex-Sheffield Wednesday and they don't like them but I have left now. I have played here three times and scored each time. The boo-boys are here all the time but I kept them quiet."

Kuqi could easily have had a hat-trick but missed a chance before and after his brace.

He said: "Just before that I hit one quite well but the keeper saved it.

"For the first goal the ball bounced up nicely for me and I just hit it and it dipped in.

"Darren did really well to set up the second goal, but I was disappointed not to get my hat-trick.

"I tried to make good contact for the cross but it didn't quite come off."

He is hoping his double will boost his, the manager's and the supporters', confidence and he can keep down a starting position.

He said: "We have a lot of good strikers here at the club and you need to work hard and do well to be playing. I have played in all four league games but have been a little disappointed with myself in those as I have not had any chances.

"Hopefully those goals will get me back on track and I will get a regular run."

Kuqi could get his wish this afternoon against Wolves.

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