Former Latics goalkeeper Kirkland walks away from football

Chris Kirkland

Chris Kirkland

Former Wigan Athletic and England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has terminated his contract with Bury because he “needs some time and space away from the game”.

The 35-year-old also cited family reasons for his decision, labelling it the most difficult he has had to make during a career that began almost two decades ago.

Kirkland only joined the Shakers this summer, after he was released by Preston at the end of last season, and had been due to make his competitive debut against Charlton at Gigg Lane this weekend.

“I have asked Bury FC to cancel my contract with immediate effect and I am thankful to the gaffer and the chairman for the compassion and understanding they have shown,” Kirkland said in a statement on the club’s website.

“I know people will find it hard to understand why someone like myself, who has been lucky enough to have spent my professional life in football and enjoyed all the benefits that comes with that, needs some time and space away from the game; however, it’s a decision I’ve taken putting my family’s future and well-being first.

“It’s been the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I know it’s the right one.

“I hope, at the appropriate time, I might be able to, again, be involved and work within football, either as a player or in coaching or even work within the community. I believe that taking this break will allow me to come back refreshed, with a new perspective on the game that will be valuable to someone.”