Dean Ashton retires from football

West Ham and England striker Dean Ashton today announced his retirement from professional football.

Ashton has succumbed to a long-term ankle problem which he initially sustained when training with England in August 2006.

The 26-year-old underwent several operations in a bid to overcome the problem but concerns for his mobility later in life prompted today's decision.

West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury told the club's official website: "This is a sad day and our thoughts are with Dean.

"I would like to place on record our thanks to him for all his efforts and wish him the very best. I would also like to thank the fans for their patience and understanding during what has been a difficult time."

Ashton made his name at Crewe before joining Norwich in January 2005.

He netted 18 goals in 46 appearances for the Canaries, earning him a then club-record £7.25million move to West Ham.

Ashton made a good first impression, scoring the goals which took the Hammers to the FA Cup final, although he failed to land a place in Sven-Goran Eriksson's 2006 World Cup squad.

He was named in Steve McClaren's first squad, for the game against Greece at Old Trafford, but was injured in a training ground clash with then Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.

The striker missed the whole 2006/07 season but returned to make 35 appearances in 2007/08.

He started the 2008/09 season in goalscoring form but broke down again after just four games because of the ankle injury.

Former West Ham striker Tony Cottee told Sky Sports News: "Cynics will point out he signed a five-year contract and will get paid millions and millions of pounds and that might well be the case but that doesn't replace the fact he has lost his footballing years and he also has to deal mentally with the problems of retiring.

"He would probably have been in the World Cup squad.

"We know Carlton Cole and Peter Crouch are options but Ashton is 6ft 2in and had a bit of everything about him.

"Potentially he could have been a very, very good forward for England.

"We will miss his goals at West Ham and we will miss his personality, it's really sad news for West Ham fans."

Crewe manager Dario Gradi, who gave Ashton his professional debut at the age of 16, was not surprised by the announcement.

"We'd all seen it coming for a long time," he told Press Association Sport. "He's been injured for a while and I think that Dean was prepared for it.

"The saving grace for Dean is that he has had a bit of a career and will have made enough money not to have to work again."

Gradi, who managed Ashton as he went on to score 74 goals for Crewe, also feels England will be greatly affected by his retirement.

"It's a shame for Dean but it's a great shame for England," he said. "They are crying out for a big striker and that is what he is.

"Dean has always been a goalscorer. He made his debut at 16 and the good players usually make their debuts around that age. He was a good player and he could have achieved what he wanted."

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
News
peopleEnglishman managed the quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Flat out: Michael Flatley will return to the stage in his show Lord Of The Dance
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape