GARY Cahill has released a statement speaking about his “devastation” after Hull City and England midfielder Ryan Mason announced his retirement from football after failing to recover from a fractured skull.
Mason’s injury was caused by an accidental clash of heads with Cahill in a sickening collision in January 2017 and has not played since, retiring aged 26.
“Devastated to hear today’s news from Ryan,” tweeted Cahill.
“Competing for a corner is something we’ve done thousands of times and to see those consequences for a top professional like Ryan is heartbreaking.
“Sending all my love to him and his family, and wishing him all the best for the future”.
Earlier, Mason announced that, despite his best efforts, he was calling time on his football career.
“I can confirm that following specialist medical advice I am having to retire from playing professional football,” Mason said in a statement.
“I have worked tirelessly in order to be able to return to the pitch.
“Unfortunately, having taken expert medical advice I now have no option but to retire due to the risks involved given the nature of my injury.
“I am and always will be eternally grateful for the incredible network of people around me who have helped me to recover from what was a life-threatening injury in January 2017.”
Former Tottenham Hotspur player Mason was capped once for England, in a 1-1 draw with Italy in Turin in March 2015.
“I am so proud to have come through the ranks to play for my club, the club I love,” he said. “To have had the honour of captaining the team fills me with immense pride.
“Finally, representing my country is an honour that nobody can ever take away from me and something that I am so proud to have achieved.”
In a heartwarming gesture, Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has opened the door for Mason to return to the club he started his career at.
Don’t worry Ryan, you’re going to be a successful person outside the pitch,” he said after Spurs’ 2-2 Champions League draw in Turin.
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, who has worn a helmet since his own sickening clash with Reading’s Stephen Hunt in 2006, paid tribute to the retiring Mason.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Petr Cech. He’s set the standards of what it is to be a proper man and a gentleman,” Mason told Talksport.
“Straightaway (after the incident) he contacted my family and my fiancée and reassured us that what we were going through was normal and to be expected, with not being able to talk and struggling with light and everything like that.
“As soon as I got a bit more strength I was keen to see him because he said, ‘as soon as you’re ready, I’d like to come round and speak to you’.
“I think it was after about eight or nine weeks he came round. I was a bit worried at first because I hadn’t really spoken to anyone for longer than ten minutes.
“He walked through the door, sat on my sofa and said, ‘just sit back, don’t say anything, just listen’ and he spoke for about an hour and a half.
“I didn’t say anything, he just spoke and it was brilliant because when he left my partner said, ‘wow, the things we were a little bit worried about’. It just reassured us that everything we were going through was part of the process of recovery.
“We’ve been in touch ever since. He’s been round to the house again and we speak on the phone regularly. He’s been fantastic.”
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