Former Republic of Ireland defender Stephen Ward retires

Walsall left-back hangs up his boots aged 36 after leaving international football in 2019

Former Republic of Ireland and current Walsall defender Stephen Ward has announced his decision to retire from professional football.

The 36-year-old made his name at Wolves before moving to Burnley in 2014.

At Turf Moor he helped the Clarets achieve promotion to the Premier League in the 2015-16 season and reach the Europa League in the 2017-18 season.

Ward also had stints at Stoke and Ipswich and was capped 50 times for the Republic of Ireland, featuring in two European Championships for his country.


Ward started out his career as an attacker with Bohemians but was converted to a left-back by Wolves manager Mick McCarthy. He retired from the international game in 2019.

Commenting on the decision, Ward said: “I have decided to retire now as I feel my body is telling me it’ s time to stop playing. I have really enjoyed my last season as a professional at Walsall and I am grateful to both Matt Taylor and Michael Flynn for how they have handled my last season.

“I want to thank all the players, staff, the chairman and the fans for making it a very special year for me. Unfortunately we didn’t achieve what we wanted to on the pitch but I felt after securing our status in the league last Friday, it was a perfect time to stop and let the manager and lads finish the season strong and set them up for next season which I have no doubt will be a massive success.

“I have lived every kids dream. It is with a heavy heart that I have come to this decision but I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life. Thanks again, Wardy.”