Manchester United duo of David de Gea and Dean Henderson has paid tribute to goalkeeper Paul Woolston, who has decided to retire at the age of 23 due to injury.
The former Newcastle goalie has failed to overcome a niggling injury that saw him undergo two operations last year, and confirmed on Wednesday he was hanging his gloves.
“To have to retire at just 23 has been really tough to come to terms with but I feel a lot more positive now,” the former England youth international said.
“I am really proud of everything that I have achieved, many people dream of playing football at this level. Of course, I would have loved to have gone on further but it has been an absolute honour to represent Manchester United during my time here.”
De Gea and Henderson, who have been working alongside Woolston were the first to send words of hope.
“Well, it’s always bad when someone has to retire at a young age,” De Gea told the club’s official website. “I’ve spoken with him, the other day, and said to him that the most important thing is life, more than football, in terms of a proper life.
“It was sad. I have been training with him, when he was fit, and it’s very sad news. I wish him all the best. He’s a great lad, a great goalkeeper and we all feel really sorry for him.
“I trained with him and he had a very good left foot, I remember, and it’s sad for him and for the club. But, as I said before, I was speaking with him and, first of all, it’s life and being in good conditions to have a good life,”
Henderson added: “Look, I was speaking to Woolly last night and it’s devastating for himself and for all of us around him.
“He was a great guy to work with throughout the age groups. When I was in the younger age groups, I even remember playing against him when he was at Newcastle. For such a young lad to retire at the age he is, is devastating.