Ashton set to retire?

  • by Yet Another Staff Writer
  • Monday, 9th November 2009

Dean Ashton is set to announce his retirement from football after losing his battle to a long-standing ankle injury, according to a report in today's Daily Telegraph.

Ashton, 26, who has not played for the Hammers since September 2008, has endured a woeful injury record since joining from Norwich City in January 2006 and adds yet another blow to West Ham's struggling 2009-10 season so far.

After an explosive start to his Upton Park career under Alan Pardew's management, Ashton finished his first half-season scoring in the FA Cup Final defeat to Liverpool in May 2006. This good start saw Ashton called up by then England manager, Steve McClaren, for Three Lions duty in August 2006.

However, rather than the mark a fairytale beginning, this call-up began an injury nightmare for Ashton as the number nine broke his ankle is training after an apparently innocuous challenge by Shaun Wright-Phillips which led to Ashton missing the rest of the 2006-2007 season.

Although Ashton returned in August 2007 and managed 11 goals in 35 appearances - earning the striker a new 5-year, ?50,000 per week contract, as well a recall to the England squad by Fabio Capello in the process - Ashton broke down again in last season's 3-2 defeat to West Brom at The Hawthorns and has not kicked a ball since.

The Telegraph now reports West Ham are set mount an insurance claim against the F.A for ?7m, as well as speculating Ashton may also launch a direct claim against Wright-Phillips for his part in his original ankle injury.

Dutch surgeon Niek Van Dyke ,who handled Ashton's rehabilitation, is reported to have diagnosed the player as suffering from 'chronic degeneration' to his ankle, meaning although the player can run, he can not twist or take any impact to the joint and is in constant discomfort. Van Dyke is deemed to have ruled Ashton's hopes of a comeback an impossibility.

The paper suggests should West Ham be successful in their claim against the F.A that the funds would be available for Zola to strengthen the squad, although due to this size of club's current debt, that is likely to represent speculation at best.

News of the apparently impending announcement represents unwelcome news for manager Gianfranco Zola, whose side are heavily reliant on Carlton Cole, whose absence from the side against Everton was all-too-evident as chance after chance went beginning leading to a 2-1 defeat and the Hammers slipping back into the relegation zone.

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