Premier League

Owen calls time on career

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Tue, 19 Mar 2013 09:59:00

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has rejected rumours linking him with a return to Germany with Wolfsburg.

Reports have suggested Wolfsburg are lining up a move to sign the 28-year-old in the summer to bolster their defence.

Wolfsburg general manager, Klaus Allofs, is a big fan of Mertesacker having worked with him during their time together at Werder Bremen.

Mertesacker's future at Arsenal has been the subject of conjecture after coming in for criticism for some of his performances for Arsene Wenger's side.

However, Mertesacker insists he is happy at Arsenal and has no plans to return to his homeland.

"No, I don't consider a return to Germany. I am under contract with Arsenal and I am planning to stay on at Arsenal for more years from now," Mertesacker told Sport-BILD.

The 31-year-old Baggies striker has 15 months remaining of his current four-year deal at The Hawthorns.

But, under article 17 of FIFA's transfer regulations, players over the age of 28 can end their contracts two years after signing for a club by paying a compensation figure determined by their wages and transfer fee.

Odemwingie tweeted: "I see a free player. A player who buys out his contract soon. Or a retired player. Does he look like he cares much? They made him not to."

Albion have already confirmed the Nigeria international will be dealt with internally after his Twitter attacks on the club on Sunday.

Odemwingie hit out at being only a substitute in recent games and for the club allegedly questioning his commitment.

Sources close to the Premier League outfit have indicated Albion will not sack Odemwingie.

Odemwingie is likely to face another fine after being hit in the pocket during January for a series of social networking outbursts.

But Albion will not ban the former Lokomotiv Moscow and Lille forward from using Twitter although any activity by players is governed by the club's disciplinary code of conduct.

The Chelsea defender was assessed by England medical staff who decided he will not be fit to take part in Friday's match.

He will be reassessed later in the week with a view to the second of England's two qualifiers, against Montenegro on Tuesday.

Taylor will link up with the squad in place of Cahill, who joins Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jagielka on the injury sidelines.

Boss Roy Hodgson's options at centre-back are Steven Caulker, Joleon Lescott, Chris Smalling and now Taylor.

Taylor said: "I am so happy to have received a call-up to the full squad. It's every player's ambition to represent their country."

The 33-year-old who began his career at Liverpool before spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and current club Stoke City, announced the decision on his website.

A statement on the site read: "It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire from Professional Football at the end of this season.

"Having progressed through the ranks at Liverpool to make my first team debut at 17, before embarking upon spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, not to mention representing my country on 89 occasions, I now feel it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career.

"I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey that like many young players starting out, I could only have dreamt of.

"None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, back room staff, the supporters and my own personal sponsors. I would like to thank each and every one for the huge role they have played in helping me reach the top of my profession.

"Most of all though, I would like to thank my family. To my beautiful wife Louise, for her continued love and support through the many ups and downs in my career and for affording me the most precious gift of all, our children.

"To my Mum who has always taken the brunt of my frustrations yet continues to keep our family so tight-knit, a trait that has formed the foundations of my own success. Her dedication to me and my brothers and sisters is immeasurable. I'd like to thank Terry, Andy, Karen and Lesley for being so understanding and creating the perfect environment to grow up in.

"Last but not least, my Dad. We did it my old mate! From those freezing local parks to terrorising the best defenders in the World on the biggest stages of all. I couldn't have done it without you".

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