sport

Shuker hangs up his boots

Port Vale midfielder Chris Shuker has been forced to retire from playing due to injury.

Shuker sustained a knee injury almost six-and-a-half years ago and has suffered chronic problems with it since.

The 32-year-old, who joined Vale from Morecambe two years ago and last season helped the club win promotion from League Two, has revealed that his substitute appearance during the home defeat to Sheffield United last weekend was his last as a professional footballer - barring an injury crisis ahead of the final game of the season on Saturday.

He told the club's official website: "I have played my last game, unless anyone falls ill overnight. There is no other reason, other than my knee.

"The injury was at Tranmere on Boxing Day 2007. I have never been the same. It has got worse and worse and I have to look out for my family and think of my future.

"If I carry on trying to drag it out then, literally, I am not going to be able to walk. So, I have to hold my hands up and say I have had a good career, enjoyed myself at whatever club I have played for.

"A lot of people would snap your hand off for the career I have had, and I haven't taken it for granted for a second."

Vale manager Micky Adams has known of Shuker's intention for some time and is sorry to see him go.

He said: "He has been a fantastic professional and has never been a problem. He has worked hard every day and even looking at him in training, you just wonder how he has managed to survive.

"Chris is a fantastic lad, a great professional, a real model professional and somebody who the young lads can look up to and say 'that's how you do it' on a daily basis.

"I am delighted he was part of the squad that got promoted and sorry perhaps that he has not played as many games this season as he would have liked.

"But I have known about this on-going problem with his knee for a long, long time and it is a sad end to a fantastic career for him."

Shuker began his career at Manchester City and also went on to play for Macclesfield, Walsall, Rochdale, Hartlepool, Barnsley and Tranmere.