30/09/2019

NI Football Legend Gareth McAuley Retires

Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley has announced his retirement from football.

With a career that spanned 23 years and featured nine goals in 80 international appearances for his local time, the 39-year-old Larne man believes now is "the right time" to hang up his boots.

Issuing a statement abut his decision on Monday, Gareth said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and two children.

"To play 80 times for my country and score nine goals, I enjoyed every second I wore the Northern Ireland shirt and will be forever thankful for the support I was given," the football star told fans.

"Now I'm looking forward to spending time with my wife Fran, my son Bobby and daughter Alexis, and enjoying some of the things I've missed out on down the years."
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McAuley played for Linfield, Crusaders and Coleraine before his career took him to higher levels of the sport- an achievement he is "extremely proud of".

After stints at Lincoln, Leicester City and Ipswich, he spent the majority of his career representing at West Bromwich, before his final move to Rangers, the club he supported as a boy.

"I fulfilled my ambition of playing in the Premier League," the towering sportsman reflected, before speaking of his days playing at Ibrox and representing NI in the Euros 2016: "To pull on that blue shirt meant the world to me. But it was the green shirt of Northern Ireland which filled me bursting with pride.

"It was always easy for many years but when success came it made it all the sweeter, not just for me, the players and the staff but also the fans who have supported us through good times and bad.

"It's been a dream, a privilege and an honour to represent so many great clubs and work under managers and coaches who helped mould my career."



(JG/CM)

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