Dean Whitehead, who has played over 230 Premier League matches in a career spanning 19 years, has announced his retirement from football.
Whitehead made the announcement on Twitter at the end of a season in which he has featured only sparingly for Huddersfield Town, last appearing in the FA Cup third round win over Bolton in January.
In an emotional statement, Whitehead thanked his parents, wife, fans and former managers for their support.
“The day has come that I always feared,” said Whitehead. “After the Arsenal game on Sunday I will be hanging up my boots. I have played for some fantastic clubs over my career and am proud of all my achievements.”
Whitehead began his career at Oxford United, making 136 appearances for the the U’s before Sunderland brought him to Wearside in 2004.
Whitehead enjoyed the best years of his career at the Stadium of Light, twice winning the Championship title with the Black Cats. He was named in the 2006/07 Championship team of the season and helped Sunderland consolidate their top flight place before joining Stoke in 2009.
He made 160 appearances in four years with the Potters and came on as a substitute in the 2011 FA Cup final at Wembley when Stoke lost to Manchester City.
He spent the latter years of his career with Middlesbrough and Huddersfield, helping the latter earn promotion to the Premier League. He was an unused substitute as the Terriers beat Reading in the Championship promotion final last May.
Tributes have been pouring in for the retiring Whitehead.
He will now take up a technical staff role at the John Smith’s Stadium before taking charge of the club’s academy next January.