MX23RW : Friday, December 14 20:01:07

Benitez 'deeply saddened' by Stephen Darby's retirement

Defender Darby was given his Liverpool debut by Benitez in 2008.

Rafael Benitez has paid tribute to Stephen Darby after the defender was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

The Bolton full-back announced his retirement on Tuesday at the age of 29.

Former Liverpool manager Benitez gave Darby his debut in a 1-1 Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid in 2008.

He made seven appearances for the Reds before joining Bradford in 2012.

Newcastle boss Benitez wrote on Twitter: "I was proud to give Stephen Darby his Liverpool debut and now I am deeply saddened to learn of his retirement. Stephen is a special person and he has my total support. He will never walk alone."

MND is a degenerative condition that affects how nerves in the brain and spinal cord function and there is not current cure.

Darby was captain of Liverpool's FA Youth Cup-winning side in 2006 when they beat a Manchester City team which included Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge.

He made his full Liverpool debut against Fiorentina in 2009 before spending five years at Bradford, joining Bolton in 2017.

Darby, who is married to England Women's captain Steph Houghton, made five appearances for the Trotters but has not played since December last year.

Bolton boss Phil Parkinson, who also managed him at Bradford, told the Bolton News: "It is very typical of Stephen that he came in to speak with the lads and be upfront with it all, because he doesn't want them to think they cannot talk to him about his illness.

"In my time in football, he is one of the very best characters I have come across.

"He met with the specialist on Wednesday and was perhaps expecting the news that he would have to retire, but not this.

"He wanted to tell family and friends over the weekend but then get it out in the media today because people were asking questions about why he wasn't training.

"We can only offer our support. I have talked to him about keeping him involved, coming into the training ground, and he's keen to do that because there is a lot he can offer us. He can help us in many areas."


Click here for more stories about Rafael Benitez

Click here for more stories about Liverpool

Share this article now:
Thomas Tuchel in charge of PSG in pre-season on July 21, 2018
Read Next:
Tuchel: 'PSG did not deserve to lose'
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account