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Izzy Brown announces his retirement from football at 26 after 'toughest year of his life'

Izzy Brown announces his retirement from football at 26 after 'toughest year of his life'

The former West Brom, Chelsea and Preston midfielder has announced his retirement at 26.

Izzy Brown has been forced to retire from professional football at the age of 26 after going through 'the toughest year of his life'.

The 26-year-old midfielder, who is the fourth youngest player to have featured in a Premier League game after making his debut for West Brom aged 16 years and 117 days, spent eight years at Chelsea between 2013 and 2021.

During that time at Stamford Bridge, he spent time on loan at Vitesse, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Brighton, Leeds, Luton and Sheffield Wednesday, before joining Preston in 2021 on a permanent deal.

But the former England U20 international failed to make a single senior appearance for the Lilywhites after suffering injuries that included hand, foot and mouth disease, a problem with his nervous system and double Achilles surgery.

Taking to Twitter to announce his early retirement from football, he said: "“Dear Football, I really don’t know where to start, although I always thought I’d have to write this one day, I just didn’t think this day would come so soon.

"It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that after a long year of struggling from two Achilles tendon surgeries, I now have to retire from professional football.

"I will always remember the memories I have made. They will live with me forever.

"Lastly, I just want to say thank you to all the fans that have supported me and sang my name, there is no greater feeling than that. You mean the world to me, and always will.”

In addition to those injuries, Brown was struggling to come to terms with the death of his close friend Dominic Yarwood, who died by suicide in December 2021.

Problems sleeping also impacted his ability in training and caused him to be late.

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

Speaking to The Athletic about his decision to retire, the former Chelsea midfielder opened up further about mindset in recent months.

“Being a footballer, you have to bite your tongue quite a lot because when you have a bad game, you’re the first one to know,” he said. “But you go on Twitter, you see what the fans are saying and you have to just deal with it. It’s part and parcel of the job.

“But when the manager, who’s meant to protect his players, comes out publicly to say things when he knows what I’ve gone through… that’s hard. He wasn’t there when I first got injured, and then we only had maybe one or two conversations after he joined.

“Then in December last year one of my best friends [Dominic Yarwood] committed suicide. I was struggling to sleep and the manager gave me 10 days off, because of the therapist that I was speaking to at the time.

"When I came back, my mind wasn’t completely focused on getting back fit because of what had happened. So I was late a few times because I wasn’t sleeping and would fall asleep at five in the morning and then sleep through my alarm.

“That’s where there was a bit of a miscommunication between us. It’s not that I have a bad attitude. I was just going through something that not many people should ever have to go through, and on top of an injury as well.

"It was probably the toughest year of my life.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Instagram - izzyjaybrown

Topics: Chelsea, Premier League, Huddersfield, Preston North End