15 years after retiring, Dean Ashton set for footballing return during international break

15 years after retiring, Dean Ashton set for footballing return during international break

Former Premier League star Dean Ashton is all set for another stint in his playing career as he will be back on the field during the upcoming international break. However, it won’t be for the England national side it will be for the talkSPORT Trophy. Now a sports commentator Ashton will be in action on Thursday (Mar 21) representing the All Stars – captained by former Tottenham and England striker Darren Bent – where he will face Team Breakfast.

Dean Ashton to return to field

Dean Ashton, a one-time England international the striker suffered a broken ankle while on England duty in August 2006, which meant that he was forced eventually to miss the whole of the 2006–07 season. The then-West Ham forward never really picked up again after the injury and another series of ankle issues in the consequent seasons saw his playing career halted. The player would eventually announce his retirement in December 2009 aged 26 and was never seen on the field again in playing gear.

Speaking to talkSPORT.com, he said: “I think the last sighting of me with football boots on was about ten years ago at Mark Noble’s testimonial [2016].

“So it’s very rare that I would ever come out of hibernation for a game of football, but when the gaffer Pardew gives you the call up, you can’t really say no to be honest!

“I still owe him for buying me for West Ham [for £7million], so I’m ready.”

Ashton is often seen on commentary duties for talkSPORT while he makes a rare appearance as co-commentator on the Premier League’s world feed. He was last seen in action during Mark Noble’s testimonial game in 2016 which was played at the Old Upton Park Stadium.

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Dean Ashton’s Playing Career

Ashton during his playing career represented three clubs including boyhood team Crewe Alexandra with whom he played in the second division. He got his first taste of Premier League football in the 2004-05 season. The campaign is regarded as one of the best relegation battles when Ashton’s Norwich went down on the final day of the season after a 6-0 thumping at Craven Cottage against Fulham. Surprisingly, Brian Robson’s West Bromwich Albion survived the drop despite starting the final day of the season in the bottom spot.

Ashton’s best return in a Premier League season came in the 2007-08 season for West Ham, his first since the career-threatening ankle injury in 2006. West Ham had also survived narrowly on the final day of the season in the previous campaign in Ashton’s absence where a final-day victory against champions Manchester United helped their cause. Ashton would score 10 goals in 31 Premier League matches but had already seen the beginning of the end with the ankle issue.

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