PAUL Wellens has confirmed the news Saints fans have been dreading by announcing his retirement.
A year-long hip problem has forced the former skipper to consider his future, and after seeing a specialist this month, he has called time on a glittering career.
I had injections last year to get through it – which was more than worth its while when you consider what we achievedPaul Wellens
Revealing the full-extent of his battle to play on, Wellens paid tribute to his family and the club’s fans, and also confirmed he will continue to work with Saints behind the scenes.
“I’ve had an ongoing hip problem for around 12 months and tried my hardest to battle on through,” he said.
“I had injections last year to get through it – which was more than worth its while when you consider what we achieved – but in the early stages of this year I started to struggle with it again and that culminated with me leaving the field at Wigan on Good Friday.”
On his future with the club, Wellens said: “I have a great relationship with Eamonn McManus, Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham. They have been patient with me through this and I am looking forward to further working with them.”
The 35-year-old, who amassed 495 appearances for Saints in an unforgettable career, was eager to credit the people around him, who have watched him collected trophies, individual accolades and international caps.
“I’d like to thank my family who have been a huge support to me and in particular my parents who have been a constant source of support and my wife Rachel.
“When you go through tough times like this, or go on tour, she bears the brunt of it and looks after our kids. A lot of people make sacrifices to do what I do.”
The full-back also thanked fans, who have seen him claim a place in the sport’s folklore.
“Finally, I’d like to thank the supporters as without them we wouldn’t have a club. They have been phenomenal with me. In my career I have always done my best and I think the St Helens people appreciate that.”