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Thursday, 28 September, 2000, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
No regrets for retired Bould
bould
Bould in classic form as part of the legendary Arsenal defence
Steve Bould has admitted he would not change a single minute of one of the most distinguished careers in English football after being forced to retire.

The 37-year-old defender has decided to hang up his boots after a toe problem which has dogged him for the last 20 years finally became too problematical.

But the Stoke-born player, who won three league championships, two FA Cups, League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup honours and two England caps during his 11 years at Arsenal, will not look back on his playing days with any yearnings for what might have been.

Bould said: "I've got no regrets. If there is a regret - and it's not really a regret - I would have liked to have played for England more than I did, but it wasn't to be.

"I think I hold the post-war record for the oldest debutant, so at least I went down in history. Steve Bruce didn't get one, so it's not bad company.

Disappointing

"I've had more than a full career really. Anything over maybe 34 is a bonus. I've done more than that, although it's disappointing to pack in now.


I think I hold the record for the oldest post-war England debutant, so at least I went down in history
  Steve Bould
"I would have loved to have played more games for Sunderland because they did me a big favour. They took a bit of a chance, taking somebody at 36, and I think there were a few questions asked at the time.

"But I hope I've repaid a little bit of that, if not as much as I would have liked."

Bould began his professional career at his home-town club in 1980 and made 211 first-team appearances before George Graham paid 390,000 to take him to Highbury in June 1988.

There he formed part of the Gunners' `Famous Five' defence along with David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams and Nigel Winterburn before making his final move to Sunderland last summer for 500,000.

His longevity had become almost legendary before he announced his decision to retire, but he puts it down to two things - having summers off to recuperate, and Arsene Wenger, the man who let him leave Highbury.

Respect

"The reason I've played so much longer, I'm so pleased I bumped into Arsene Wenger," he said.

"I couldn't pick one thing out. He's a great coach, a great thinker, a nice fella and he treated all the older players when he arrived at the club with a lot of respect.

wenger
Bould credits Arsene Wenger with prolonging his career
"When I was at Arsenal, people like Dennis Bergkamp never got a rest. He had two weeks' break more or less every summer, and Tony Adams was the same.

"They'd come back after the pre-season and really struggle through tiredness.

They were over-fit, they'd worked too hard. They go on and on and on and it happens every summer.

"I don't think there will be too many of those players playing at 37. That might be a good thing - plus they've got enough money to pack in!"

Best player

Bould has played with and against the best world football has been able to produce during his career, and while he admits it is difficult to pick out the very best, a few names spring readily to mind.

"By far the best player I've ever played with is Dennis Bergkamp, although I think Tony Adams has got to be up there as well," he said.

Bould has the medals and the memories of a 20-year career to sustain him as he prepares to go into coaching and management, but he admits he is still getting used to the idea of no longer pulling on his boots.

"It's probably only on reflection that I'll realise actually what I've achieved," he said.

"Other than the medals I can look back at my time at Stoke and Sunderland and I've enjoyed it, every minute of it.

"Things have happened that I would never, ever have imagined."

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