David Healy announced his retirement from football on Monday night.
Here is the striker’s statement in full.
“I am today announcing my immediate retirement as a player from professional football. After a playing career, of some 18 years, the point has come for me to move on to a new challenge.
“Over half my life has been dedicated to the game that I love and although you have to get on by your own efforts and making the best of your own abilities, my career would not have been anything like it has, without the help and support of so many people.
“I’d like to start by thanking my mum and dad and the whole of my big family and close friend Maurice Garrett, who sacrificed so much of their time, in my early years, to help put me on the road, to making my ultimate dream a reality. Also, all of my early coaches at - Killyleagh, Crossgar and Lisburn Youth. A special mention for the late Eddie Coulter and Bob Nesbit of Manchester United, who gave me so much advice and help in my teenage years.
“To my wife Emma who’s been by my side, through all the good times and especially the tough times , an especially big thank you and to my children Taylor and Jude, who I adore and have always been my biggest fans. Finally thanks to my advisors Steve Hughes of Base Soccer and Robert Park of mxb.
“I have had so many memorable moments at all the clubs I have had the honour of wearing the shirt for, I thank them and the supporters. But it’s as a Northern Ireland player the memories will always be closest to my heart. There have been some pretty tough days in the Green shirt, let’s be honest, but when we got it right and when I had the chance to play my part, those are the days that will stay in my memory for ever.
“So a huge thank you to all my team mates over the years, Michael O’Neill, all my past managers, coaches, physio’s, back room staff, the IFA and most importantly the supporters.
“To the Green and White Army, who have sang my name win or lose, goals or no goals, travelled to countries, some of which I don’t think either I or they could even spell, my heart felt thanks and respect to you all. I will see you in the Kop End!
“It has been an absolute honour and privilege to wear the Northern Ireland shirt, to represent the people of our proud wee country and I hope to continue in whatever way I can, in my new career in coaching, to help Northern Ireland succeed.”
Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill added: “David Healy has and will always be an iconic player in the eyes of all Northern Ireland Fans. He is our most capped outfield player with 95 caps and his goal scoring record of 36 senior international goals, compares with the best strikers in International football. His commitment to playing for Northern Ireland is an example to all current and future international players. I know that David will have a lot to offer the game as he embarks on his coaching career.
“David has already performed a scouting role for the senior international team and assisted with the under 17 team as part of his development as a coach. I would like to thank David for his contribution to football in Northern Ireland and I look forward to working with him in the future.”