Man Utd goalkeeper Paul Woolston forced to retire from football aged just 23 as David de Gea leads tributes

Man Utd goalkeeper Paul Woolston forced to retire from football aged just 23 as David de Gea leads tributes

March 23, 2022

MANCHESTER UNITED goalkeeper Paul Woolston has been forced to retire at just 23 years old due to injury.

Woolston joined United from Newcastle in 2018 and represented the club's Under-23 side.

The North Shields shot-stopper suffered an unknown injury that led him to undergo two operations and a lengthy rehabilitation period but unfortunately he's been unable to return to full fitness.

Woolston told United's official website: "To have to retire at just 23 has been really tough to come to terms with but I feel a lot more positive now.

“I am really proud of everything that I have achieved, many people dream of playing football at this level. Of course, I would have loved to have gone on further but it has been an absolute honour to represent Manchester United during my time here.

“The support of my family, friends, team-mates, coaches, the medical staff and entire Manchester United Academy has been phenomenal.

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"Everyone has played a major part in my journey by keeping my spirits up, allowing me to reflect positively on my playing experiences and begin to look to the future.

“Right now, I am fully focused on the next stage of my career. I am ready to use all of my learnings, resilience, drive and determination to make a real success of my life.”

United have rallied around Woolston and have offered him various work-experience placements as well as support with his coaching badges.

Woolston, who also trained with the senior squad, received messages of solidarity from team-mates with star goalkeeper David de Gea leading the way.

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De Gea said: "Well, it’s always bad when someone has to retire at a young age.

"I’ve spoken with him, the other day, and said to him that the most important thing is life, more than football, in terms of a proper life.

“It was sad. I have been training with him, when he was fit, and it’s very sad news. I wish him all the best. He’s a great lad, a great goalkeeper and we all feel really sorry for him.

“I trained with him and he had a very good left foot, I remember, and it’s sad for him and for the club. But, as I said before, I was speaking with him and, first of all, it’s life and being in good conditions to have a good life.

“Of course, in life, sometimes problems happen and things happen. You have to keep looking forward, keep fighting and that is what life means. Like I say, I wish him all the best.”

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