LEICESTER CITY STRIKER Kevin Phillips has announced his retirement from professional football this afternoon.
The 40-year-old former England international, who has scored 287 career goals and won European Golden Boot in 2000 after hitting 30 for Sunderland, will hang up his boots on Saturday when the Foxes face Doncaster in the final game of the season.
Having joined Leicester in January, Phillips helped them win the Championship title meaning he has won promotion with five different clubs — the others being Sunderland, West Brom, Birmingham and, last season, Crystal Palace.
“After 20 amazing years as a professional footballer, I’ve decided to announce my retirement,” Phillips revealed in his Sky Sports column today.
“I will play my final game for Leicester on Saturday, at our home ground, having won the Championship title – and that seems like the perfect way to bow out.
“After scoring the winner to get Crystal Palace promoted at the end of last season there were a few voices in the back of my head saying ‘maybe I should retire now’. But I decided to continue for another season for the chance to play in the Premier League as a 40-year-old.”
Phillips scored the winning goal for Crystal Palace in last season’s play-off final:
“I managed to do that earlier in this campaign – joining an exclusive group of three other players who have played in the Premier League as 40-year-olds – but now the time is right,” he added.
After a lot of consideration and time spent talking with my family, the Leicester manager Nigel Pearson and my agent, I think the time has come. I turn 41 in July and I just feel now, with sore ankles and the way my body is, it’s not going to get any easier.
“All my family will be at the King Power Stadium this weekend and it’s going to be emotional. However, although it’s going to be a strange feeling leaving the pitch for the final time as a player, now’s the right time.
“If I’m being honest, I wasn’t tempted by one more go at the Premier League. Last year I kind of knew I was going to carry on but this year, no. I’ve been seriously thinking about it over the last four or five weeks and I think it’s the right decision to make.”