England captain Andrew Strauss played a glowing tribute to Andrew Flintoff after the all-rounder announced he would retire from Test cricket at the end of the Ashes.
Flintoff, 31, has been troubled by a succession of injury problems in recent years, prompting his decision to quit the five-day format in order to prolong his limited-overs career.
Strauss, preparing his team for the start of the second Test against Australia at Lord's on Thursday, is not surprised by the announcement and stressed his respect for Flintoff.
It is not yet known if Flintoff will be fit to take part at Lord's, having suffered a recurrence of the knee injury which needed surgery at the start of the summer.
"He helped bring a new audience to the game of cricket," Strauss said.
"He could be inspirational, by both what he did on the pitch and just by the way he was around the lads.
"He'll be missed (in Tests) but still has lots to offer England in the shorter forms of the game."
Strauss praised Flintoff's laid back approach to dealing with the pressure of international cricket.
"He was the lad from Preston who enjoyed his cricket and enjoyed a pint," noted Strauss.
"He played the game in the right spirit. Sometimes it's very easy to get very serious about what we're doing.
"Fred sometimes just went: 'No, it's a game of cricket and I love playing cricket and I'm going to enjoy it'.
"That is the way we should play."
The finest moment of Flintoff's Test career came in 2005 when he was the key figure as England reclaimed the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.
And Strauss is hopeful the Lancastrian, fitness permitting, can replicate those heroics in the final four Tests of this summer's duel with Australia.
"We have every confidence that he will put in some big contributions - with either bat or ball - over the coming four games," added Strauss.
"It's quite a nice mindset to be in when you relax and say 'I'm just going to enjoy my last four Test matches'.
"I expect him to put in some good performances over the coming weeks."