Ashley Williams retires aged 36 as ex-Swansea and Everton star reveals captaining Wales at Euro 2016 was career high

Ashley Williams retires aged 36 as ex-Swansea and Everton star reveals captaining Wales at Euro 2016 was career high

ASHLEY WILLIAMS has announced his retirement from football.

The ex-Everton, Swansea and Wales star, 36, has been considering his future since leaving Bristol City at the end of last season and has now finally decided to hang up his boots.

Centre-back Williams played 741 games in total and won 86 caps for his country, with the highlight captaining Chris Coleman's side to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

Williams posted on Instagram: "It has been an unbelievable journey and one I will look back on with my family and be immensely proud of.

"Captaining Wales in a semi-final European Championship in 2016 was my greatest achievement and something I will never forget."

A post shared by Ashley Williams (@ashley.williams84)

After Williams was released by West Brom, the defender started his career in non-league with Hednesford and Stockport County.

He joined Swansea in March 2008 for £300,000 and played more than 300 games for the Welsh club.

Williams won promotion to the Premier League, became a top-flight regular as well as winning the League Cup.

After the glorious summer of 2016 with Wales in France where he scored in the 3-1 quarter-final triumph over Belgium, Williams moved to Everton for £12million before spells at Stoke and Bristol City.

Williams' 86 caps puts the commanding leader fifth on the all-time appearance list, only behind Chris Gunter, Wayne Hennessey, Neville Southall and Gareth Bale and during lockdown he was working on his coaching badges.

Williams added in his post: "After consideration of recent offers to continue playing, I would like to announce my retirement as a professional footballer.

"It has been an honour to play 741 games across all levels of the English football leagues and to represent some incredible teams.

"Started from Non-League to playing at the highest level in the Premier League, as well as representing my country on 86 occasions was beyond my wildest dreams.


"I would like to thank all my former team-mates, managers, backroom staff and fans, for without them, professional football would not exist.

"A special mention to my incredible family, friends and my management company New Era Global Sports, who have supported me on every step of my journey and will continue to assist me in my transition into life after playing.

"Football has taught me so much both on and off the field and I will take this with me into the next chapter. I look forward to still being involved in the game in the future."

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