Blogs & Opinion


Kevin Phillips: I'm retiring with many great memories

Kevin Phillips - Kevin Phillips Posted 28th April 2014 view comments

After 20 amazing years as a professional footballer, I've decided to announce my retirement.

I will play my final game for Leicester on Saturday, at our home ground, having won the Championship title - and that seems like the perfect way to bow out.

After scoring the winner to get Crystal Palace promoted at the end of last season there were a few voices in the back of my head saying 'maybe I should retire now'. But I decided to continue for another season for the chance to play in the Premier League as a 40-year-old.

Kevin Phillips: Hanging up his boots

Kevin Phillips: Hanging up his boots

I managed to do that earlier in this campaign - joining an exclusive group of three other players who have played in the Premier League as 40-year-olds - but now the time is right.

After a lot of consideration and time spent talking with my family, the Leicester manager Nigel Pearson and my agent, I think the time has come. I turn 41 in July and I just feel now, with sore ankles and the way my body is, it's not going to get any easier.

I've had many great memories during my career. Now I'm moving onto the next stage.

Kevin Phillips
Quotes of the week

All my family will be at the King Power Stadium this weekend and it's going to be emotional. However, although it's going to be a strange feeling leaving the pitch for the final time as a player, now's the right time.

If I'm being honest, I wasn't tempted by one more go at the Premier League. Last year I kind of knew I was going to carry on but this year, no. I've been seriously thinking about it over the last four or five weeks and I think it's the right decision to make.

There are other opportunities, looking forward now, that I want to pursue and that's kind of made my mind up as well.

Plus, I don't particularly relish the idea of putting myself through another pre-season!

Fortunate

Looking back on my career I feel fortunate to say that there have been so many highs - and many more highs than lows.

The five promotions to the Premier League have been great, especially the last two because they've come late on in my career, and to be the top scorer in the top flight - and win the European Golden Boot in 2000 - was incredible.

But if I could pick one special moment, it would have to be pulling on an England shirt for the first time.

As a kid, growing up, all I ever wanted to do was play for my country. When I got that opportunity - when I was still a First Division player with Sunderland - it was a dream come true.

To wear that Three Lions shirt away in Hungary was amazing and to do it seven more times after that was phenomenal for me, a player who came out of non-league into the professional game quite late on at 20.

People always ask you if you have any regrets, but I really don't. I've achieved everything I set out to when I was a young kid - and more.

Promotions, relegations, cup final victories - I've experienced it all. It's been an exciting career. Every kid dreams of playing for teams like Man United and Chelsea, winning Premier League titles, but I've certainly enjoyed my career and have no regrets whatsoever.


Sunderland

The club I'm sure most football fans associate me with is Sunderland. That was where I made my name and I've still got huge affection for that football club.

Whenever I go back there I'm always made to feel very welcome and I have to give them a huge thank you for their support.

The Sunderland fans have been amazing to me when I've gone back to play against them or been at the Stadium of Light working for Sky and I sincerely hope they stay in the Premier League this season.

The six years I had up there were awesome. Obviously it ended in disappointment with relegation but it was an amazing time, a lovely place to live and I met some great people. The North East people in general are very humbling.

There are a lot of people I'd like to thank: the managers I've worked with, the players who have helped me and the football clubs I've played for - plus many others I don't have room to list here.

Ultimately the biggest thank you would have to be to my family, though. Me and my wife went into my career together and 20 years on we're still married!

There have been a lot of challenges along the way but my family have been a massive, massive help for me throughout my career.

Future

So, what next? I hear a lot of stories about players finding it difficult when they hang up their boots but I'm hoping with the opportunities I've got in front of me I'll be kept pretty busy. I'm lucky in that respect.

The manager at Leicester has offered me a position in the coaching staff, with a role with the first team for next season, which I'd like to pursue. That should mean that this summer I'll be just as busy, if not busier, than the actual players on the training field!

I also want to continue my media career and take that to another level, as well, so these are exciting times for me.

You can't beat the buzz of match day, though: traveling to the ground, warming up on the pitch... that feeling is very special. Then, being a striker, there's nothing better than hitting the back of the net.

I'd love to do that one last time on Saturday. But if it doesn't happen then I've had many great memories during my career.

Now I'm moving onto the next stage.

Post to your View!

Be the first to post a comment on this story

Add Comment*

Send us your views

Are you a Sky Sports subscriber?

*All fields required, your email address will be kept private

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Latest News RSS feeds

Balague: Messi future in doubt

Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona if they don't build a better team around him, says Guillem Balague.

Pellegrini dismisses Messi link

Manuel Pellegrini says reports linking Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi with Manchester City are just "rumours".

Arteta: United defeat 'not fair'

Mikel Arteta says it is "not fair" that Arsenal lost to Manchester United despite dominating possession.

Sky Sports Today

Get reaction to Liverpool's defeat to Crystal Palace and the build up to Monday Night Football.

Thommo fears for Liverpool

Phil Thompson fears it’s going to be “extremely difficult” for Liverpool to finish in the top four again this season.

Features

Premier League: Can Southampton finish in the top four?

Premier League: Can Southampton finish in the top four?

“Southampton is not depending on one person,” said Ronald Koeman when asked about the departure of head of recruitment Paul Mitchell. With Saints sitting second in the Premier League, he might as well have been talking about his own arrival as replacement for Mauricio Pochettino.

Champions League: Who can qualify and who might go out on Matchday 5

Champions League: Who can qualify and who might go out on Matchday 5

The Champions League returns for its fifth round of matches on November 25 & 26, as the group stage nears a conclusion.

Champions League: Dimitar Berbatov still a contradiction as he makes return to Bayer Leverkusen with Monaco

Champions League: Dimitar Berbatov still a contradiction as he makes return to Bayer Leverkusen with Monaco

It’s eight years since Dimitar Berbatov played at the BayArena. He scored the winner for Tottenham that night and yet more remarkable was the scene that greeted his substitution. The applause of the Spurs fans was drowned out by the reception he received from Bayer Leverkusen supporters.