Saturday, 2 January 2010

A loss to the game

It is a tragedy that Dean Ashton has had to call time on his career at such a tender age.
The 26 year old former West Ham and England striker decided to retire after a persistent three year battle with injury after sustaining a broken ankle in a tackle with Shaun Wright Phillips on England duty in August 2006.
Ashton had started his career at Dario Gradi’s Crewe Alexandra, the latest in a long line of talented youngsters to make their name at the club.
After catching the eye in a prolific partnership with fellow frontman Rob Hulse, Ashton secured a transfer to Premier League strugglers Norwich City.
He was an instant hit with the fans there, with his bustling aggressive style and penchant for scoring important goals encouraging comparisons with Alan Shearer.
After Norwich’s relegation on the final day of the season it was inevitable that somebody of his skill and ability would attract interest from top flight clubs and it was West Ham who eventually came calling.
His form there continued to be strong leading to that fateful England call up for Steve Maclaren’s first game in charge against Greece.
It was in training that Ashton found himself on the receiving end of a tackle from Wright-Phillips that was, eventually, to cut short his career.
He later made a brief recovery for West Ham that led to an England call up by Fabio Capello that saw him pick up his one and only cap in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.
Rumours abounded last month that he was set to retire but no official confirmation came until the end of last month.
It was a sad end to what could have been a brilliant career.