Can Hull's Steve Harper play Premier League football at 40 years old?

Steve Harper 2

Steve Harper will turn 40 in March and is giving serious consideration to extending his career at Premier League side Hull City.

Brad Friedel remains on the books of Tottenham Hotspur at 43 years of age and Mark Schwarzer is going strong at Chelsea at the age of 42.

Another goalkeeper will join the exclusive club of Premier League 40-somethings before the current campaign is out, with Hull City’s Steve Harper set to celebrate a landmark birthday in March.

The vast majority of his 21 years as a professional were spent at Newcastle United, with a North East native displaying commendable loyalty to his local club.

He was, however, allowed to leave for the KC Stadium in 2013 and made 13 top-flight appearances for the Tigers last season.

Harper has been involved again this term under Steve Bruce, although his main role is understudy to Allan McGregor.

The veteran shot-stopper is happy with how things are going and admits he will be giving serious consideration to extending his playing days past the summer of 2015.

Harper told the Newcastle Chronicle: "I'm 40 in March and while I don't feel it I realise nothing lasts for life. I'm really open-minded about what I do next.

"Right now, my one concern is to get back on the field and play as many matches as I can for Hull. I made 19 appearances last season when Hull enjoyed their best top flight campaign ever, and want to add to my overall total of 23.

"I was injured against Arsenal at the Emirates. I was playing well too – you're always busy down there – and we were drawing 1-1 when I got hurt.

"I hate being injured and at my age I can't afford to be, so I rushed back, played against Burnley, and aggravated my bicep and shoulder again. But I'll return very shortly and then there is half a season still to go."

If Harper believes he is still capable of doing a job, why should he hang up his boots at the end of the season?

As long as he can handle the demands of high-level competition, there is no rush to slip into retirement.

Having spent much of his career filing back-up duties, it is important that Harper plays for as long as possible and squeezes as much as possible out of the sport which has offered him so much joy.

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