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Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Injuries force Pallister to retire
Gary Pallister
Pallister played only nine games last season
Middlesbrough defender Gary Pallister has called time on his distinguished playing career because of a succession of injuries.

The 36-year-old played just nine matches last season because of a back injury and has now damaged a nerve in his foot.

He said: "I had discussed with [former Middlesbrough boss] Bryan Robson the possibility of playing this year.

"Unfortunately, following the back operation, a subsequent injury to a nerve in my foot has forced me to reluctantly make this decision.

I count myself very lucky to have played my football at the very highest level
Gary Pallister

"I would like to thank the fans, all the coaching staff and officials for their support."

Pallister won four league titles during nine years at Manchester United and also claimed 22 England caps.

He said: "Although this is a sad day for me, I count myself very lucky to have played my football at the very highest level while playing alongside many world-class players.

"I have many wonderful memories to look back on."

Steve McClaren, who replaced Robson as Boro manager at the start of June, paid tribute to Pallister.

"Gary has enjoyed a fantastic career as one of the game's best defenders with Middlesbrough, Manchester United and England," McClaren said.

Gary Pallister
Pallister made his name at Man Utd
"However, Gary's departure creates an opportunity for us to develop some of our talented, young players.

"On behalf of everyone at the club, I'd like to thank Gary for all his efforts and wish him all the very best in what ever he decides to do next."

Pallister joined Boro from Northern League Billingham Town in November 1984 for the price of a set of strips and a few match balls.

He made his name at Manchester United after joining the club for 2.3m in 1989.

He returned to Boro during the summer of 1998 when United boss Sir Alex Ferguson brought in Dutchman Jaap Stam.

See also:

23 Jun 01 |  Aston Villa
Villa coaches to join Boro
15 Jun 01 |  Middlesbrough
McClaren resumes England role
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