Former Rangers defender McAuley decides to retire
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Former Rangers defender McAuley decides to retire

Former Rangers defender Gareth McAuley has spoken out after deciding to retire from football, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.

The 39-year-old defender spent the 2018/19 campaign at Ibrox but has been without a club since being released in the summer.

McAuley on the ball for the Gers against Aberdeen in December 2018.. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It was a disappointing final season in the game for the vastly experienced centre-back, who struggled to win a place in the Gers team due to injury and form issues.

“I knew towards the end of last season I wasn’t playing beyond that – I knew I was finished with it,” said McAuley, as quoted by the Scottish Sun. “I spoke to Steven Gerrard before signing and knew I wouldn’t be playing every week.”

“He told me he wanted me to help set the standards in the dressing room and help the younger lads. I also got injured at bad times after not having a proper pre-season.

“I’d have liked to have played more or won something at Rangers but it was the only place I wanted to be.”

The veteran wanted one last challenge at Ibrox before calling time on his career. (Photo by Johann Schwarz/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

McAuley calls time on impressive career

Age seemed to catch up McAuley during his stint in Light Blue, and he mustered just ten appearances across the season [Soccerbase].

However, that shouldn’t take away from what was a remarkable career in the game.

After starting out in the IFA Premiership with Linfield, Crusaders and Coleraine, he only secured a move over to England in his mid-twenties. Not content with a career in the lower leagues, though, McAuley worked his way up from Lincoln City to Leicester City to Ipswich Town.

Finally, he got his big Premier League break with West Brom, for whom he made over 200 appearances.

The centre-back goes up against Luis Suarez in the Premier League (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images).

McAuley also immortalised himself as a legend in Northern Ireland courtesy of his exploits for the national team.

After making his debut in 2005, he racked up 80 caps and scored an impressive nine times. In 2016, he netted his country’s first-ever goal in the European Championships in the famous 2-0 win over Ukraine in Lyon.