SOUTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 09: Grant Leadbitter of Sunderland celebrates scoring their second goal during the Coca-Cola Championship match between Southampton and Sunderland at St Marys Stadium on April 9, 2007 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

The emotional moments that explain why Sunderland fans love Grant Leadbitter as midfielder retires

Local lad Grant Leadbitter has announced his retirement from profsseional football

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 10:22 am

The 35-year-old has been weighing up his options since leaving Sunderland earlier this summer, and will now consider his next steps in the game.

The hugely popular midfielder says the memories of his two spells at the club his family have supported since he was a boy 'will live with him forever'.

Leadbitter made a total of 210 appearances for his boyhood club Sunderland, scoring 18 goals during two stints on Wearside.

Leadbitter also thanked Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town for their part in his career after he enjoyed stints at both clubs during a stellar playing career.

Writing on Instagram, Leadbitter said: "The time has come to officially end my days playing professional football.

"After taking a few months off to enjoy a holiday with the family and reflect, I've realised I am ready to retire.

"Of course there has been the temptation to carry on, but since playing my final game for Sunderland in May I had it in my mind I wasn't going to play on. I just wanted to be sure it was the correct decision.

"For me to finish my second and final spell at the club where it all started, the one I supported as a boy, and where I loved going with my mam and dad, just seems right.

Here, we take a look at his best and most emotional moments in red and white.

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