Kevin Phillips announces retirement
He’s played for ten different clubs and scored for nine of them; even at the age of 40 he has just this season helped Leicester City get back to the Premier League – but today Kevin Phillips has announced his retirement from professional football.
April 28th, 2014
The only Englishman to date to have won the European Golden Shoe, Phillips achieved this feat during his stint at the club where he is most fondly remembered; achieving promotion to the Premier League with Sunderland and assisting in a record 100+ points haul, before two consecutive top-flight seventh-place finishes and narrowly missing out on European football both times – winning the award in 2000 with 30 goals.
Although unable to stop the Mackems’ relegation in 2003, Phillips moved onto Southampton for his only taste of European football; losing over two legs to Steaua Bucharest in the UEFA Cup first round; he did however manage to equalise at home to keep the tie evenly keeled before suffering a 1-0 reverse in the second leg.
It was the Sunderland form which earned Phillips the first of his eight appearances for England; although never scoring for his country he was (an unused) part of the squad which played at Euro 2000.
Phillips left Southampton in 2005 to become something of a Midlands journeyman; he played for Aston Villa, West Brom and Birmingham City in the top two English tiers – winning the League Cup with City – before a successful spell with Blackpool in 2011-13.
He scored the winning goal from the spot for Crystal Palace in the play-off final of 2013 against his first club Watford, but only lasted until Christmas in the Premier League before dropping down to the Championship to sign for Leicester City. Having helped the Foxes to the Championship title before the season’s end, he has chosen this time to announce his retirement.
“I will play my final game for Leicester on Saturday, at our home ground, having won the Championship title – and that seems like the perfect way to bow out.”
It certainly does. While Phillips was never a big hitter in the grand sense of things, the fact that he managed to appear in a Premier League outfield at the age of 40 is a true testament to the tenacity of the veteran player. And with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo still tearing up the European goal charts every year, there’s no danger of another Englishman usurping Kev’s brilliant achievement for his country any time soon.