FORMER Sunderland midfielder Gavin McCann has hung up his boots after failing to recover from a long-term ankle problem.
The 33-year-old has spent the last 16 months trying to recover from injury, but has now decided to retire on medical advice.
McCann had continued to train with Bolton this season despite his contract at the Reebok Stadium expiring last summer.
The one-time England international will now take up a coaching role with the youth set-up at the Bolton academy.
McCann said: “Unfortunately I’ve had to call it a day.
“There are times now when my ankle is sore and aches and further down the line I will need another operation.
“I have to give thanks to the staff at Bolton, particularly the club doctor and the gaffer.
“They were accommodating and let me still train and use the facilities at the club as I tried to get back to full fitness, even though my contract had expired.”
Blackpool-born McCann made 363 appearances in a career which began at Everton.
He moved to Sunderland for £500,000 in 1998 and made 135 appearances for the Black Cats before moving to Aston Villa in the summer of 2003.
Despite the fact that he has played for a few clubs, McCann has retained strong links with Sunderland and has often spoken of his affection of his time at the club.
After Sunderland’s recent win at Bolton, McCann was in the dressing room with Sunderland’s players afterwards, offering his congratulations and joking with the backroom staff.
Meanwhile, McCann’s former Sunderland team-mate Stephen Wright has been released by Brentford.
Wright, 31, signed for the Bees last summer and made 15 appearances for the League One outfit.