Former Tottenham and England forward Jermain Defoe has confirmed his retirement at the age of 39.
The Sunderland striker, who spent time with Spurs in three different stints, also played for West Ham, Portsmouth, Toronto FC, Bournemouth and Rangers across a two-decade-plus career.
Defoe had been due to play on until the end of the season with the League One club after rejoining from Rangers in January, but confirmed his plans to hang up his boots in a lengthy statement published on social media on Friday.
“After 22 years in the game, I have decided to retire from professional football,” he stated.
“It’s been a really tough decision, and one I have discussed with my family and those closest to me.
“I made my professional debut at 17 years old in 1999, and I feel now is the right time to bow out. I have had an incredible journey and have met some amazing people in the game.
Initially coming through the youth ranks at Charlton and West Ham, Defoe scored on his debut in the League Cup for the Hammers against Walsall to kick-start a prolific career.
— Jermain Defoe OBE (@IAmJermainDefoe) March 24, 2022
He won a subsequent medal in the same competition for Tottenham in 2008, despite leaving midway through the campaign and missing the final. He was finally presented with the medal in 2018.
Defoe won his only other club honour last year when he helped Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title under former England team-mate Steven Gerrard.
For the Three Lions, he won 57 caps and scored 20 goals, including bagging the winner in a 1-0 victory against Slovenia in the group stage of the 2010 World Cup.
“Football will always remain in my blood, and it gives me great pride and satisfaction to look back on the blessed career that I’ve had,” he added.
“I now look forward to spending some quality time with my friends and family before moving forward on this next chapter in my career.
“Thank you to all the fans from each club I’ve played for. The love I have received and endured throughout my career will never be forgotten, and I will always have a special bond with you all.”
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