FORMER Ireland international Gary Doherty (pictured) has decided to hang up his boots and retire from football due to injury.
Now 34, Doherty had been with League Two side Wycombe Wanderers and signed a new deal with the club last summer. But because of a long-running injury problem he has been unable to play for the promotion-chasing side this season and has now opted to quit the game.
"It's the hardest decision for any footballer to have to make. You always hope you'll be able to retire in your own time when it's right for you, but injury has forced my hand and it's one of those things you have to deal with," says Doherty, capped 34 times between 2000 and 2005.
"The gaffer has put together a really strong team and I would have loved to have been a part of it for the rest of the season. I hope they can continue the fantastic run they've been on because there's a great set of lads in that dressing room."
Born in Donegal, Doherty was raised in Luton and made the breakthrough with Luton Town. In March 2000, he became a Premier League player with a £1million move to Tottenham and that summer he also made the step up at international level when Mick McCarthy handed him his senior debut against Greece.
Doherty then had spells with Norwich City (2004-2010) and Charlton Athletic (2010-12) before his last move, to Wycombe.
Club boss Gareth Ainsworth said that Doherty will be missed at Wycombe.
"Gary is a special guy who's had a fantastic career so I'm gutted for him that he's had to retire. I know it was a tough decision but he has to do what's right for him and I know I can speak for all of the lads when I say it's been a privilege to have him in the squad," said Ainsworth.
"He's a model professional who's had a great influence even when he's been out of the team, and we'll miss having him about the place."