Chelsea youngster Sam Hutchinson has been forced to call time on his career at the age of 21, owing to a persistent knee injury.
The defender joined the Blues' youth academy at the age of nine and progressed through the ranks to eventually earn call-ups to England under-18 and u-19 levels.
However the knee injury that prevented the player from playing regularly has also brought an untimely end to the career of the budding centre-back.
A statement on the club's official website reads: "Sam Hutchinson has announced his retirement as a professional footballer.
"Unfortunately the 21-year-old defender suffered a recurrence of the knee injury that affected his past three seasons and it is has been decided he will not recover sufficiently for the physical demands of a professional career.
"Hutchinson will continue to be supported by Chelsea Football Club and will work in our Academy while also studying sports science at university. He will later pursue coaching qualifications."