Martin O'Neill has admitted he did not expect Luke Young to retire from international football.
The Aston Villa right-back was given the opportunity to link up with England this week after the injured Glen Johnson pulled out of Fabio Capello's squad to face Brazil.
However, Young confirmed that he was still unavailable for selection after informing the Football Association last year that he wanted to focus on playing for his club.
Villa manager O'Neill respects the decision but concedes it did come as something of a surprise.
"My own personal view is that you should try to keep going for as long as you can - both at club level and international," O'Neill told the club's official website.
"However, at the end of the day, it's his decision. It's always up to the individual, particularly with international football.
"It's not my position to decide for people one way or the other. I do not know what has gone on before or what made him come to that decision."
The situation could be seen as positive for Villa as there is no risk of Young sustaining an injury on international duty and he will be fresh when the Premier League resumes.
However, O'Neill maintains that hearing news of the 30-year-old's decision did not make him any happier.
"Am I glad? No, not really. He is still very young but ultimately I accept his decision," he said.
"It's not like he's 33 or 34 and injury-prone like Martin Laursen, where you have to make a choice.
"It's a hard one. I do not know the reasons why Luke decided to retire in the first place.
"England will be disappointed because it was an opportunity for him.
"But you have to respect what the player wants. It's Luke's prerogative to do what he wants."