Former West Ham striker Dean Ashton has admitted it is unlikely he will ever be able to run again after quitting the game because of an ankle injury.
The 26-year-old suffered the injury in in a challenge by England colleague Shaun Wright-Phillips in 2006 and has since tried in vain to recover. Ashton announced he had quit the game on Friday and is understood to be considering whether to sue the Football Association, Wright-Phillips and Chelsea who were his club at the time.
"It's a rubbish situation. I just want to be able to walk properly and, at the moment, I cannot," Ashton told The Sun. "My health is obviously more important than football. I was told if I kept trying to play football, I might never walk again."
He added: "I am going to hospital on Tuesday for a fifth operation.
"It's unlikely I will ever be able to jog again but right now, I can't walk properly.
"My left ankle is still very sore. It will be a while before I feel OK and get over this disappointment.
"There is a bit of bitterness and I think 'Why me?'. It's a sad part of football."i