Matthew Etherington: Winger retires with back injury

Matthew Etherington
Etherington's last appearance was as an 89th-minute substitute in Stoke's 2-1 win at West Brom in May

Former Stoke and West Ham winger Matthew Etherington has retired from football after failing to overcome a back injury.

The 33-year-old left Stoke in the summer, although he was recently training with Millwall.

He started his career with Peterborough and also played for Tottenham, Bradford on loan and West Ham before moving to the Potters in 2009.

In total, Etherington made 493 club appearances, scoring 43 goals.

He tweeted: external-link"Due to an ongoing back problem, the day has come for me to retire from professional football. I have some amazing memories since the day I made my debut at just 15 years old.

"Thank you to all the great clubs I have played for and to the supporters. I have made some mistakes along the way but it has made me who I am today. I look at the past with pride and to the future with optimism.

"Thanks to everyone for the kind messages. Really overwhelming reading them all. Nice to know I left a few good memories during my career."

A few of his former team-mates tweeted that Etherington would be missed.

Potters keeper Asmir Begovic said: "Big congrats to @mattyethers on his fantastic career! One of the best wingers I have played with so far. #topman"

Stoke striker Peter Crouch said: "@mattyethers is retiring! Great player, great career and best of all a great lad! Can see that golf handicap coming right down now."

Middlesbrough midfielder Dean Whitehead, another former Stoke team-mate said: "@mattyethers, what a player you've been lad, pleasure to have played with you!! proper winger. #class act."