Former England midfielder Scott Parker announces retirement

Former England midfielder Scott Parker has announced his retirement from football after a 20-year career.

Parker, 36, helped his last club Fulham, for whom he played for four years, to reach the Championship playoffs last season.

He began his career at Charlton Athletic, making his first-team debut for them in 1997 and became a first-team regular in early 2001 after returning from a short loan spell at Norwich.

Parker's performances attracted the attention of Chelsea, who signed him in 2004, but he found first-team opportunities hard to come by and moved to Newcastle the following year.

Four years with West Ham United were followed by a two-year stint at Tottenham before he switched to Fulham, then in the Premier League.

Parker, who made his senior England debut in 2003 and went on to win 18 caps for his country and captain them once, said in a statement: "The decision to retire has not been an easy one for me, but having thought long and hard over it and having discussed it with those closest to me, I believe that now is the right time to move on to the next chapter in my life and career.

"When I started my career at Charlton Athletic all those years ago I could only have dreamt at that time just what was to follow over the next two decades. I feel incredibly honoured and proud to have enjoyed the career that I have and I've loved every moment of it.

"I would like to thank everyone at Charlton Athletic, Norwich City, Chelsea, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham for the unbelievable support that I've been shown throughout my time at each and every one of the club's I've been proud to represent.

"Thank you to the fans of all of the clubs that I've been lucky enough to play for. Your support has meant everything to me.

"I'm now looking forward to the next chapter of my life and career and hope to make an announcement soon with regards to what that will be."