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Vickery: I couldn't carry on


Phil Vickery

Phil Vickery

Phil Vickery

Former England captain Phil Vickery has revealed he will need "a lifetime of maintenance" after being forced to retire yesterday with a neck injury.

The 34-year-old prop has been in left in severe pain after damaging a disc while captaining Wasps against his old club Gloucester on September 25. Vickery successfully recovered from four major back and neck operations during a glittering 15-year professional career - but this time the risk of serious injury was too great.

"This time I knew something wasn't right. I am not scared of pain but the pain level was more than before," said Vickery. "Even now just sitting, driving in the car, trying to sleep at night is painful. I sneezed earlier and thought someone had stabbed me in the back of the head. I know I can't carry on like this."

He added: "There will be no more operations. It is going to need a lifetime of maintenance now, it is not just week to week and month to month.

"I have never been under any illusions as to what you put your body through. Do I want to know what I will be like in later life? Probably not.

"Rugby has given me everything in my life. It has been a dream run. I look back with real happiness and it's been amazing.

"Through the sad times, the injuries and the setbacks, my desire and passion for the game has never wavered.

"The more I look back and think about it the more I think what I've done is fantastic and I have a lot of fond memories but, of course, it's sad.

"As well as Wasps, I will miss playing for England dearly. To be able to stand on a rugby field and sing our national anthem was truly brilliant, an amazing experience and one which I have never taken for granted."

Vickery retires with 73 England caps and five British and Irish Lions Test appearances to his name. He won the World Cup, the Heineken Cup and the Premiership.

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