West Ham and England striker Dean Ashton has announced his retirement from professional football.
Ashton has succumbed to a long-term ankle problem which he initially sustained when training with England in August 2006.
The 26-year-old underwent several operations in a bid to overcome the problem but concerns for his mobility later in life prompted Friday's decision.
West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury told the club's official website: "This is a sad day and our thoughts are with Dean. I would like to place on record our thanks to him for all his efforts and wish him the very best. I would also like to thank the fans for their patience and understanding during what has been a difficult time."
Ashton made his name at Crewe before joining Norwich in January 2005.
He netted 18 goals in 46 appearances for the Canaries, earning him a then club-record £7.25million move to West Ham.
Ashton made a good first impression, scoring the goals which took the Hammers to the FA Cup final, although he failed to land a place in Sven-Goran Eriksson's 2006 World Cup squad.
He was named in Steve McClaren's first squad, for the game against Greece at Old Trafford, but was injured in a training ground clash with then Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.
The striker missed the whole 2006/07 season but returned to make 35 appearances in 2007/08.
He started the 2008/09 season in goalscoring form but broke down again after just four games because of the ankle injury.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms