Everton deny pressurising Pienaar
Talk that Everton had applied pressure on former Bafana Bafana skipper Steven Pienaar to quit the international scene has been quashed by Toffees boss David Moyes.
Pienaar announced that he had retired from the national side on Tuesday, turning down a call-up from coach Gordon Igesund.
It immediately sparked debate over whether he had been pressured into doing so by his English Premiership club, but Moyes denies this.
"We had no input into Steven Pienaar's decision to retire from international football,” he said.
"I have never discouraged any player from playing for his national team, in fact I encourage it. Steven has made his own decision and we support him in whatever he chooses to do."
Pienaar cited the physical demands of playing for his club and country as the reason for his decision, though the timing of the 30-year-old’s decision just months before a Africa Cup of Nations tournament on home soil seems strange.
"I am proud to have represented and captained my country," he said in a statement. "There is a lot of very good young talent coming through and perhaps it is time for them to be given an opportunity. I wish the coaching staff and the players all the very best for the future."