Former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder Grant Leadbitter confirms retirement

Credit: PA

Former Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town midfielder Grant Leadbitter has announced his retirement from professional football.

In a heartfelt social media post, Leadbitter said: "After taking a few months off to enjoy a holiday with the family and reflect, I've realised I am ready to retire.

"Of course there has been a temptation to carry on, but since playing my final game for Sunderland in May I have had it in my mind I wasn't going to play on. I just wanted to be sure it was the correct decision.

"For me to finish after my second and final spell at the club where it all started, the one I supported as a boy, and where I loved going with my mam and dad, just seems right. Now I can look forward."

"The memories I have from playing for Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Ipswich will live with me forever.

"Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way."

The 35-year old had two spells at his boyhood club, Sunderland, and spent more than six years at Middlesbrough - where he won a promotion to the Premier League with both clubs.

The Chester-le-Street-born player also had a successful spell at Ipswich Town and he helped the Black Cats win the EFL Trophy earlier this year, during his final season as a player.  

Sunderland's Lynden Gooch (left) and Grant Leadbitter celebrate with the Papa John's Trophy after the 2021 final at Wembley Stadium. Credit: PA

Leadbitter became the first Sunderland player since Bobby Kerr at Wembley in 1973 to lift a trophy for the club at Wembley, with their Papa John's Trophy success in March, and he also captained all three of his permanent clubs.