Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal says he knew for a while that Jeremy Helan wanted to quit football to focus on religion.
The 24-year-old French winger, a devout Muslim, is set to retire from the game.
Carvalhal revealed he knew of Helan’s intentions in the summer and tried to change his mind.
“It’s not new for me. It’s something I’ve talked to him about since the start of the season,” Carvalhal told BBC Radio Sheffield.
“When he talked with me I understood and I just said to him to take some time to be sure about the decision.
“In that period he was very professional – he’s a nice guy – but I must tell you that his head isn’t in football.
“Just the body was here and he tried to do his best, because he’s a good guy and a fantastic professional. We must accept his decision.
“I had other long conversations with him and said he has the talent to play football, and I did my best to keep him in football.
“But Jeremy’s focus was different – he’s more focused on different things. I understand his head is not here.
“He took the decision a long time ago and didn’t change his mind.”
Carvalhal, 50, worked in a number of countries, including Turkey, prior to taking over at Wednesday in 2015.
The Portuguese says he respects Helan’s decision and understands his reasons for walking away from football.
“I’ve lived in different countries and I absolutely understand different cultures, and that people follow religions,” said Carvalhal.
“Some people have a different mentality and don’t care about money or material things. They prefer to be at peace with themselves and follow a different style of life.
“It might seem strange, but it’s nothing very strange to me because I know people who make decisions like Jeremy’s.
“We must accept it and wish him the best for the future.”
Helan has made one appearance for Wednesday this season and 144 in total since arriving from Manchester City in 2012, initially on loan.
The former France Under-19 international spent two months on loan at Wolves last season.