Sheffield United winger Ricky Holmes plans to retire this summer when his current contract expires.
Still only 32-years-old, Holmes hasn’t played for the Blades since March 2018. The forward has had loans at Oxford United and Gillingham since then, although both spells were interrupted by a back injury.
It is a problem that Holmes first suffered when working on a building site during his non-league days. He didn’t become a professional footballer until the age of 22 and ten years later has been forced to call time on that career.
“I have been back at Sheffield for 15 months and had an operation to shave down the bulging disks in my back, which worked. I felt great and was back – then the same thing happened on my right-hand side,” Holmes told The News.
“It might need an operation, but I am reluctant. I am 33 in the summer and am thinking; ‘Do I have another operation to play two to three more years?’. Probably not, but I’m still in pain from day-to-day, so I need to get something sorted.
“Retirement in the summer looks imminent really. I think it’s inevitable, just for my health.
“I want to retire on my own terms. It has been one hell of an injury.”
Sheffield United came too late for Holmes
Holmes was part of the Northampton Town side that won the League Two title in 2015/16 under Chris Wilder. That summer Wilder left to become United manager, while the attacker made the switch to Charlton Athletic.
The Blades boss had always been keen to reunite with Holmes at Bramall Lane and in January 2018 he got his wish. Yet by then the South Yorkshire side were a Championship club, pushing for a second promotion in as many years.
They eventually finished 10th in 2017/18, but would of course go up the following season. Holmes had been somewhat left behind and the rise in standard had perhaps been too steep.
He was loaned to Oxford in that promotion campaign, which is where he once again aggravated his back injury. Holmes will retire having played just five times for United in two-and-a-half years.