Steed Malbranque not ruling out return to football

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The Independent Online

Steed Malbranque has not ruled out playing again after one of the most confusing periods of his career.

The French midfielder left Sunderland this summer and joined Ligue 1 side St Etienne, only to leave last week amid initial reports he needed to care for his ill son.

Malbranque then moved to deny those rumours, revealing he did not have a son, with St Etienne then confirming he had left the club by mutual consent.

It was thought his playing days were over as a result, but the 31-year-old has today said he has not yet decided what his next move is going to be.

"I never said that," he told L'Equipe, referring to suggestions he was retiring.

"The club said that. I am still hesitant.

"I cannot put myself in the future."

With no ill family members to speak of, Malbranque's decision to walk out on Les Verts so soon into his contract remains an unusual one.

"I did not take pleasure in training. I tried to be happy but I could not," he said.

He has not ruled out a return to England, where he spent 10 years with Fulham, Tottenham and latterly Sunderland, adding: "England probably suited me better."

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