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    Ex-England and Arsenal winger Walcott hangs up his boots

    Theo Walcott has decided to hang up his boots at the age of 34.

    Walcott had been without a club since being released by Southampton following their relegation at the end of last season.

    And the ex-Southampton, Arsenal and Everton winger believes now is the right time to end a career that saw him make 420 Premier League appearances.

    Writing on Instagram, he said: “The first moment I put my football boots on aged 10 was the start of a special journey for me. 

    “The support shown to me throughout this time has been incredible in every way imaginable and I am truly grateful. 

    “I would like to say a big thank you to all the managers and coaches I’ve worked with, especially Harry [Redknapp] for giving me the start and Arsene [Wenger] for showing belief and support to me when I joined the club at only 16.

    “Over 18 fantastic years in the Premier League there are so many moments I will cherish. 

    “The early days at Southampton, my transfer to Arsenal. Winning the FA Cup and scoring in the final, which is every kid’s dream. 

    “To have had the opportunity to represent England 47 times, going to the World Cup in 2006 aged just 17, and still to hold the record for the youngest ever debut by a senior England player and youngest hat-trick goalscorer at 19, I will never forget that feeling. 

    “Goodison Park is such a special place to play and Everton will always be in my heart. I loved my time there and will never forget the way the fans welcomed me and my family. 

    “Then finally back to Southampton to complete the circle. It’s a great club with an exciting young team that I know will get better and better. 

    “I’m lucky enough to have had offers to continue playing but it feels right to finish where I started and hang up my football boots. 

    “Thank you to everyone who has been with me along the way.”

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