Former Wigan and Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard announces retirement


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The Independent Football

Former Wigan, Fulham and Hull City midfielder Jimmy Bullard has announced his retirement following a long battle with a knee injury.

The 33-year-old signed a short-term contract with MK Dons a month ago, but after picking up a dead-leg on his full-debut for the League One side, was forced to consider his future.

After visiting a specialist last week, Bullard decided to bring his 14-year playing career to a close.

"In the summer I knew I wanted to give it one last crack and show people what I could do. But what I think with my strong head and what I could physically do are two different things. My head tells me I can do it, but my body tells me, no Jim you cant," Bullard is quoted as saying on MK Dons' official website.

Bullard was plucked from the obscurity of non-league Gravesend & Northfleet by West Ham in 1999 before a switch to Peterborough. In 2003 the energetic midfielder joined ambitious Wigan Athletic, which was where he came to prominence.

His dispays helped Wigan rise from Division Two to the Premier League before he made the switch to Fulham. During his time at the Cottagers, he was called up to the England squad, although he never made an appearance for the national team.

His time in west-London was affected by injuries, but crucial goals and an infectious personality saw the keen fisherman become something of a cult hero.

He would then switch to Hull City in a £5m move, yet on his debut Bullard was to suffer a recurrence of the knee injury that blighted his time at Fulham and he was unable to help save the Tigers from relegation to the Championship. A loan spell at Ipswich preceded his brief spell with MK Dons.

“My old knee injury has never allowed me to get back to where I want to be as a football player; it’s always hindered me. There are a lot of games in this League and I now know my knee won’t allow me to play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday, it’s not built for that now.

“I want to be out there playing but at the same time I know my knee won’t allow me to play at my best and to keep my place in the team. I’m hindering myself more than I am helping myself for the future.”