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West Brom hero Gareth McAuley announces retirement

Gareth McAuley has announced his retirement at the age of 39.

The former West Brom and Rangers man amassed 203 Premier League appearances and earned 80 caps for his country, scoring in Northern Ireland's first-ever win at the European Championship finals in 2016.

That goal was Northern Ireland's first at a major tournament in 30 years and saw McAuley become the second-oldest scorer at the Euros, before netting an unfortunate own goal in the round-of-16 defeat to Wales.

"A lot of people have been asking me what my plans are since the summer so I thought it was time to publicly state I've decided to retire from playing," he said.

"I knew last season was going to be my 23rd and final year as a player and I know I'm hanging up my boots for the final time at the right time.

"From the second I first kicked a ball, it was always about the love of the game and a desire to win followed.

"To play 80 times for my country and score nine goals, I enjoyed every second I wore the Northern Ireland shirt and will be forever thankful for the support I was given.

"Now I'm looking to spending time with my wife Fran, my son Bobby and daughter Alexis, and enjoying some of the things I've missed out on down the years."

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Paul Vegas

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