It’s gutting to see the confirmation that Jack O’Connell has been forced to retire from professional football. O’Connell has not played for almost three years following his knee injury.
The 29-year-old will go down as one of the greatest defenders in Sheffield United’s history.
O’Connell joined the Blades in July 2018 from Brentford and what followed was three promotions, two of them to the Premier League. The left-sided centre-back started 172 games and scored nine goals, including the unforgettable header against Ipswich Town, in the 18/19 season, in front of the Bramall Lane Kop, to send Sheffield United to the Premier League.
The defender was that dominant during his Blades career, especially in the 19/20 season, many supporters believed he was one of the best defenders in the Premier League and deserved to have been capped for England.
Even now, fans still feel as though they have not managed to replace the presence of O’Connell since he suffered his career-ending injury.
Jack O’Connell wrote a statement on social media:
“Today, I am announcing my retirement from football. I have put my heart and soul into this recovery since my knee problems began in June 2020, but this is a battle I cannot win.
“The conditions that have forced me to make this decision are complex and there will be a time to discuss them in more detail. For now, I would like to assure all Blades fans and those who have supported me, that I gave it everything. Both in seeking expert medical advice and in following the rehabilitation programmes devised to me.
“There was a time in my career when I scarcely missed a game. I prided myself on my professionalism and my dedication. Even now, in terms of my cardio fitness and my general physique, I am as fit as I ever was when I was playing every week.”
You can read more of his statement here
O’Connell has set up his own fitness and lifestyle brand “BOAST” and punditry and coaching may be the next chapter in his life.