Kevin Phillips - Last English winner of the Golden Boot, announces retirement

Kevin Phillips

After a long and very successful career Kevin Phillips has announced that this season will be his last in professional football.

Kevin Phillips has always had an impact at whichever club he has played for. Even at the age of 40 he has contributed to Leicester City's promotion to the Premier League this season. The fifth time he has achieved promotion to the top flight.

Many players gradually fall down the leagues as they reach their mid to late thirties. However Kevin Phillips has managed to carry on performing in the top two tiers. Even when he has dropped down to play for a Championship club he has managed to bounce back and play Premier League football once again. This season for Crystal Palace he became just the fourth outfield player to play in the top flight whilst in his 40's. The other's being Teddy Sheringham, Gordon Strachan and Ryan Giggs.

His best spell came at Sunderland when over a six-year spell he scored 133 goals. He helped them to get promoted tot he Premier League in just his second season and in his debut year in the top flight he scored 30 goals and won the Premier League Golden Boot as well as the European Golden Boot.

He continued his success in the Premier League with Southampton and Aston Villa before helping West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City to promotion from the Championship. He won a Carling Cup winners medal with the latter before joining Blackpool.

Just two years ago he finished top goalscorer for Blackpool as he led them into the play-offs but they lost out to West Ham United in the final. One of his finest moment came just last season when he scored a penalty in extra-time in the play-off final to secure a return to the Premier League for Crystal Palace.

On Saturday he will step out at the King Power stadium for his final ever match, and he said he knows it is the right decision. Writing in his column on the Sky Sports website he wrote, "All my family will be at the King Power Stadium this weekend and it's going to be emotional. However, although it's going to be a strange feeling leaving the pitch for the final time as a player, now's the right time."

"After a lot of consideration and time spent talking with my family, the Leicester manager Nigel Pearson and my agent, I think the time has come. I turn 41 in July and I just feel now, with sore ankles and the way my body is, it's not going to get any easier."

Not many players can manage to stay in the upper echelons of the game when they're in their 40's. Phillips also picked up eight England caps in his career without scoring and was part of the Euro 2000 squad.

Kevin highlights his England debut as the proudest moment of his career.

"As a kid, growing up, all I ever wanted to do was play for my country. When I got that opportunity - when I was still a First Division player with Sunderland - it was a dream come true."

"To wear that Three Lions shirt away in Hungary was amazing and to do it seven more times after that was phenomenal for me, a player who came out of non-league into the professional game quite late on at 20."

The prolific striker has been offered a coaching role at Leicester by Nigel Pearson and he wishes to pursue that as well as a media career. Hopefully he can find the net just one more time on Saturday.

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