Kevin Kilbane announces retirement from football

Ireland's third most capped international, Kevin Kilbane has announced his retirement from football after 14 years, nine clubs and 110 international appearances
After 710 club and international appearances, former Republic of Ireland international Kevin Kilbane has called time on his playing career.

The 35-year-old made his debut at 18 for hometown club Preston North End in 1998, and played for nine clubs in a 14 year career. A back injury in 2010 saw his run of 66 consecutive internationals for Ireland come to an end, but also hastened his retirement, as he spent a year on the sidelines. He was made Coventry City captain after being signed by boss Andy Thorn, but announced on the club's official website his intentions to retire.

"I know it's the right decision for me, and my family, and, if there is one consolation, I'm pleased it has been in my hands. A lot of good friends haven’t had the privilege because injury has ended their careers.

"When I think back to the sacrifices I have made over the years, particularly representing my country, I don't regret them," Kilbane said.

"Most importantly, after too many nights, weeks and months away from them, I want to be near my family. It’s time to put me and the family first now. I would like to thank the directors, coaching staff, players and supporters at Coventry City Football Club for my brief time at the Club and wish them all the best for the future."

Sky Blues Director Steve Waggot praised Kilbane's attitude as well as what he brought to the club: "Kevin has been a great professional throughout his career and we would like to thank him for his services to the Club and wish him all the very best in whatever he decides to do in the future."

Kilbane played over 100 league games for West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland and Everton, and also featured for Wigan, Hull City, Huddersfield Town, and Derby County in his lengthy career. Having started out as a left winger, Kilbane moved to left back, and it was there where he cemented his place for Ireland in recent years, playing 110 times for his country, while adding eight goals. He was one of the key members of Mick McCarthy's 2002 World Cup squad, impressing with his direct, attacking football on the left side of midfield, and was also named as FAI Player of the Year in 2004.

Having worked as a pundit for RTE and the BBC, as well as holding both Uefa A and B Coaching Licences, Kilbane is expected to stay in the game, and has already agreed a deal to become a newspaper columnist.