England international and Brighton & Hove Albion star Fern Whelan announces retirement
Brighton star Fern Whelan has announced her retirement with immediate effect due to ongoing battles with injuries.
The 31-year-old defender had a knee injury that kept her out the game for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, followed by an ankle operation.
Whelan joined Women’s Super League club Brighton & Hove Albion in 2017 and also played for Everton where she won the FA Cup in 2010 against Arsenal.
She also worked her way through the youth ranks for her country and earned three caps for England at senior level after making her debut in 2011.
But she has now announced that she is ‘ready to listen’ and that it is the ‘right time to end the ongoing love-hate relationship’ between herself and football.
Whelan said on Twitter: "It is with a heavy heart that I can finally announce my early retirement from the beautiful game.
"The decision has not been easy and has not been taken lightly but I feel that now is the right time to end my ongoing love-hate relationship that myself and football have.
"The constant drive in me is what kept me continually fighting to come back and play at the top level and now, after surgeons telling me to retire five years ago, coupled with the daily pain battles and a further ankle op, I am finally ready to listen.
"My body and more importantly my mind are going to thank me for it I am sure.
“I am now ready to close the amazing chapter of playing football and move on to my next challenge.”