Manchester United goalkeeper reveals ‘unbelievable pain’ behind early retirement


Young Manchester United goalkeeper Paul Woolston has explained why he has been forced to hang up his gloves for good.

The 23-year-old has had to call time on his short playing career due to a persistent hip injury that at one stage left him in a wheelchair after an operation. The young United shot stopper wrote about the events that led him to make the tough decision to retire, in am emotional message on United’s club website.

He said: “As a footballer you get injuries, that’s just part of the game, and as a goalkeeper I’ve always put my body on the line without a second thought. Whatever the problem was, it would settle down sooner rather than later.

READ MORE: David de Gea branded ‘best goalkeeper in the world’ by retiring Manchester United player

“Just over a year ago, though, I felt a problem in my hip which just wouldn’t settle. I knew something wasn’t right.” He added: “Eventually I explained it all to the physios and I was referred to a specialist so that I could have minor surgery on it.

“Going into theatre, everybody was expecting it to be a case of tidying up the joint and the socket and then I could get back to playing. I was still coming around in the recovery room when the surgeon told me that I’d have to come back because what he’d found inside was much worse than anyone had anticipated.”

Woolston recalled how, after undergoing a second, “more complicated” operation, he was in excruciating pain and had to learn to “trust” his hip once more. The former England Under-18 said: “The hardest part of everything I’ve done, which I’ll never forget, was leaving the hospital after the second operation and trying to get in the car to go home. The pain was just unbelievable.

“After that, I initially spent time using a wheelchair so I could get out and about in the fresh air. I had to learn to trust my hip again and slowly get back to walking.” He continued: “I was working towards coming back until I had a flare up which was expected to last a week. It lasted for six weeks.”

This flare-up and the aftermath that followed ultimately led Woolston to the decision of retiring. He explained: “We arrived at that position (retirement) after that flare-up and the fallout from it. I don’t want to be in excruciating pain as I get older; I want to be able to enjoy my life.”

Woolston is continuing to undergo rehabilitation for his hip issue and praised the United medical staff as “incredible” for aiding his progress. He described his three years at United as “an unbelievable chapter of my life.”



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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