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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK
Injury forces Delaney to retire
Mark Delaney
Mark Delaney missed all of last season through injury
Wales and Aston Villa defender Mark Delaney has announced his retirement from football.

The 31-year-old has had long-running battles with knee injuries and has finally conceded defeat in his bid to return to full fitness.

Delaney made 193 appearance for Aston Villa, also winning 36 caps for Wales.

"This is a very sad day for me and is not a decision I have taken lightly, but it is right for me and my family," Delaney told the Villa website.

He had been to the USA to see renowned US surgeon Dr Richard Steadman in a bid to save his career, but after eight-and-a-half years at Villa Park he has admitted defeat.

606: DEBATE
AC

Villa boss Martin O'Neill said: "Mark has tried absolutely everything to get back to fitness.

"He's been dedicated, coming in here every single day and everything he's been asked to do, he's done.

"He's gone to the very best people and he's tried everything. I'm sure he has a future in the game and I wish him all the best in whatever he does."

Delaney now hopes to stay in football and pursue a career in coaching.

Former Wales international Kevin Ratcliffe mirrored the thoughts of Villa manager O'Neill.

He told BBC Sport: "It is a dreadful blow for the player.

"To come from Carmarthen and turn into a regular Premiership and international player is a great achievement and he is one of those that you have to feel for, it is a bitter blow for him.

He will be remembered for all the right reasons

Kevin Ratcliffe

"But at the end of the day you have to look after your health and what it is going to do to you in later life.

"He'll be missed by Aston Villa but also Wales and I'm sure he'll be feeling devastated and no player likes to end their career like that."

Ratcliffe remembers fondly, Delaney's days at Cardiff City, recalling one match where he ran his Chester side ragged.

He said: "I remember him at Cardiff City and I reckon that was his best time.

"When I was manager at Chester we played them and he tormented us with his pace and was the best player on the park.

"He just seemed to go on from there and went into the Premiership and never looked uncomfortable and he will be remembered for all the right reasons and as a very good player."



SEE ALSO
Laursen realistic on Villa hopes
11 Aug 07 |  Aston Villa
Delaney set for training return
12 Jun 07 |  Aston Villa
Villa door left open for Delaney
22 May 07 |  Aston Villa
Delaney happy with knee progress
28 Mar 07 |  Aston Villa
O'Neill has open mind on Delaney
22 Jan 07 |  Aston Villa
Delaney to see US knee specialist
02 Jan 07 |  Aston Villa
Delaney sidelined by knee surgery
26 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa


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