Southampton midfielder Sam McQueen has announced his decision to retire from professional football at the age of 26 after failing to recover from a serious knee injury.
McQueen, who joined his hometown club at the age of eight, has spent more than three years attempting a comeback from ruptured anterior cruciate ligament he sustained in his right knee while playing on loan for Middlesbrough. in October 2018.
However, McQueen, who was on his contract with Southampton, was hit by a series of setbacks, with a recurring infection that triggered multiple additional surgeries.
“It was an incredibly difficult decision to make as I desperately want to get back to playing football, but I have to do what is right for me and my family,” he told the club’s website.
“The amount of time I spent not standing and running caused my body to decondition to such a degree that now, when I try to join any part of the workout, I continually have muscle tears in some areas and my knee is not able to make it, so I was advised that I would not be able to play football for much longer if I was able to get back in shape. “
McQueen came through the Saints Academy to make 20 Premier League appearances and played 29 times in total, including starts in both Europa League matches against Inter Milan in 2016.
This helped propel him to an England U21 cap in 2017, while he also enjoyed a successful loan spell at Southend and Middlesbrough.
A statement from the Saints reads: “Everyone at Southampton Football Club wishes to thank Sam for his incredible commitment and efforts as a Saints player, as well as for the way he has performed off the pitch.
“He will continue to have our support and will be a shining example for all the young players who arrive in the club’s youth sector.”