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York City striker Richard Cresswell retires from playing
TALISMAN York City striker Richard Cresswell has retired from playing.
The shock announcement was confirmed today with Cresswell calling time on an impressive career spanning two decades and finishing at the club where he started out.
The toll of injuries has prompted the 36-year-old Bridlington-born ace to quit playing after 650 League and cup appearances. He will now concentrate on coaching with his immediate task to visit top clubs in Britain and overseas to study training methods.
Cresswell, whose recruitment at the sharp end of last season by City boss Nigel Worthington was key to the Minstermen escaping the drop from the Football League, said: “It has been a difficult and emotional decision for me to make, but I feel it is now the right time for me to finish my playing career.
“Due to injury issues, I don’t feel I can perform at the level I would like to any more and that is very frustrating for me.
“I have had a wonderful career and have reached the highest level playing in the Premier League and can look back on some good times and great achievements.”
In recent months the striker has suffered a serious eye complaint which has affected his performances.
He has also recently suffered issues with a knee, which go back to a bad injury he sustained at the age of 28, when doctors believed it was unlikely he would play beyond the age of 31.
“Nothing will compare to the enjoyment I have experienced playing the game I love,” he added.
“However, I am now embarking on part two of my professional life and I am focussing on a future career coaching first team football.
“After three years’ coaching education, I have now achieved my UEFA ‘A’ licence and I’m going to spend the coming months visiting top clubs in this country and overseas to further my development and experience.”
City boss Worthington labelled today as a “sad day” for both player and club, adding: “Injuries do have a serious impact at the back end of a player’s career.
“I also retired at a similar age and it enabled me to concentrate on coaching and football management and I’m sure Richard has a bright new career ahead of him.
“We have offered Richard a role at the club, but he is keen to gain more experience over the coming months.
“He is a great professional and it has been a pleasure having him at the club.
“I would like to thank him for all his hard work and effort during the time he has been at York City.”
Club chairman Jason McGill also paid tribute to Cresswell.
“Richard originally joined York City at the age of 13 and is now ending his amazing career here,” said McGill.
“When Richard came on loan at the end of last season he made a tremendous impact, playing a pivotal role in our battle to stay in the Football League. For that alone, we are extremely grateful to him and we wish him well for the future.”
Cresswell signed a professional contract with the Minstermen in 1995 at the age of 17 making his debut for City against Brentford in 1996. He also earned the first of four England Under-21 caps while still leading the line at Bootham Crescent.
He was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday for a record fee of £950,000 in 1999, where he played in the Premier League.
Cresswell also played for Leicester City, Preston North End, Leeds United, Stoke City, again in the Premier League, and Sheffield United, which allied to his first big move to the Owls totalled more than £5 million in transfer fees, before moving back to his first club.
As he signed off his playing days declaring how the club would always have a place in his heart, Cresswell added: “I’d like to thank my wife, Zoe, my four children and all my family for their fantastic support throughout my career.
“I would also like to thank Ricky Sbragia for bringing me to York City at the age of 13 and former manager, Alan Little for giving me my first professional contract, and all the other great managers who believed in me over the years.
“I would also like to thank Jason McGill, the York City Board, Nigel Worthington and the coaching staff for their support over the past few months.
“Finally, thank you to the City fans for the unbelievable reception I experienced when I returned. It’s my local club and will always have a special place in my heart. I wish the team the very best for the rest of the season.”
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